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Maine: If you give a moose a muffin

24 Jul

The reason I was in Maine was because one of my jobs is to take care of two children. This is probably all I will ever say about it but it does take up a large part of my life and it is why I was in Maine for July so I thought I might mention it. I am really good with children and I love these kids so it works.

I also mention it because I let one of the children do a project with me while we were there. I often let said child use my camera. I have two cameras a canon g9, and a canon 5d. The project was to let the child use my little G9 and make a portrait of me everyday.

I think the project turned out really well and in the end the child was a better photographer for it. Said child is 2.5 years old. I enjoy the photos from the beginning of our trip more because the angles are more interesting. As child got better at handling the camera, the photos just look a shakey adult took them.

At the end of our time there and after reading “If you give a moose a Muffin” for the one millionth time, I posted them on facebook and called the collection, “If you give a 2.5 year old your G9 they will probably ask to use your 5D”

Now, I will share them with you!

Walking on a non-existent balance beam.

At Jordan Pond, with the Bubbles (2 mountains) in the background

At a cocktail party in the fog.

Same cocktail party

My legs at Waterfall Bridge

Hunter's Beach Trail, doing a lunge

Hunter's Beach Trail

Seal Harbor

Taken with my 5D at my favorite breakfast spot, 2 Cats

More of my own photos to come!


Pretty Bird, Pretty Bird

24 Jul

Today I went to a graduation party for my best friend Kate’s little sister, Lauren. I didn’t know what to get her. I thought I would make her jello shots and buy her a bottle of Sambuca. The last time she had my jello shots though she started throwing chocolate chip cookies into the ceiling fan to “make it rain.” Scratch the jello shots!

So, My friend Laura picked me up and we ran over to Target quickly to see if we could find something for her. Laura was looking at candles or something for he apartment as a gift when she saw a candle holder shaped like a bird-cage and Laura said, ” I’ll get her a bird-cage.” I said, ” That’s it! I’ll get her a bird, of course!”

I was worried what my friend Kate might think, buying a bird from a pet store. I don’t condone it either actually but I started playing the conversation Kate and I would have after I gave her little sister a bird, “But Kate, if we could save just one bird, it is all worth it.” I thought she would definitely be pissed though! Haha Yikes!

I also broke my number one gift giving rule. Never give a pet as a gift! I learned this lesson when my childhood friend gave me a guinea pig for christmas. That was a nice gift and I would have taken care of it but we were just in sixth grade and while she had money to buy the guinea pig, I didn’t have money to buy it a cage. So, the guinea pig, Francesca, had to live in a shallow Tupperware container with very little light. Some of the hardest lessons we learn are at the expense of the little furry lives of others. Needless to say that little rodent didn’t live for very long.

Forgive me Francesca, we know not what we do. *silence*

Laura and I went to Monster Pets and I saw the bird I wanted to buy immediately. I told the sales associate and he said ok a blue parakeet. “NO! That blue parakeet! That one, right there with the flat face.” The man said, “Ok, but you can’t put the bird in the cage you have.” I had a cage in my hands. So, I asked, “Why not?” He replied, “It’s a hamster cage.” (I thought of Francesca at this very moment.)

“Well, I said, I guess I can really do whatever I want with the bird once I purchase it, can’t I?”

He looked worried for the bird after that. I thought it was rather funny. I often say outrageous things that are furthest from my truth.

So, anyway, I got all of these cute little things for the bird, a mirror, so the bird won’t be lonely, food and toys and as I was buying all of these things, (I put the hamster cage back by the way and picked a proper parakeet cage) I thought oh my goodness, what if she doesn’t like birds, what if she’s allergic or her lease won’t allow her to have a bird.  I thought for sure I would be bringing this bird back home with me to my three cats. Poor birdie.

I also got her a little parakeet book, and on the inside I wrote I hope you enjoy the 12-15 year bond you make with your budgie. Apparently, budgie is another name for parakeet.

When we got to the party and I was in the back seat with the bird so when my friend Kate walked up to give me a hug she asked if Laura was my driver and then she whispered is everything okay, why are you in the back seat. Haha. I thought this was all very funny, and I wish I had taken a photo of Lauren’s face when I handed her the parakeet book. It was priceless. She seemed so confused when I handed her the book and then I told her to read the inscription and I said, ‘Ill go get your bird.” She started cracking up laughing nervously and then I knew the bird wouldn’t be coming home with me. I was a little sad but very happy she liked the bird, whom she ended up naming Buca. You know, for Sambuca since I was originally just going to get her liquor!

Lauren, the proud Mother of one baby budgie

She is a lovely little bird 🙂

My best friend, Kate!


or as they would say in Columbia Laura.

Since, this post has been such a bittersweet one I will leave you with these last wise words.

As my 4th grade substitute teacher, Mrs. Bell,  would say, “Birds of a feather flock together, good and bad.”

I got worms!

23 Jul

Hah! I think that is from Joe Dirt. I am back from Maine. I was hoping to be posting regularly while I was there and as you can see that didn’t work out very well. I am going to break my Maine happenings down into a few posts but for now I wanted to talk about something else.

I have ringworm. On my breast no less!  Ehh, gross. Right? Well, yes, that is gross but guess what I thought I had… Inflammatory Breast Cancer. I know you probably think I am jumping the gun but I am a bit of a paranoid person and even though I have just a red spot on my right breast as big as a quarter, I have had it for a month and at first thought it was just some dry skin. So, yesterday I get back from Maine and I decide I should have it looked at. Ok, so I have ringworm on my breast. That’s weird. I did use a public shower though and I try to never ever do that. Ringworm is not so bad though out of all of the things that I could contract, right?

So, what do you care about ringworm? You don’t. Well, you may but let’s talk about breast cancer instead.

Many people have never heard of Inflammatory Breast Cancer.  It is important to learn about this type of cancer if you don’t already know because it doesn’t have the same warning signs we are told to watch for. Most women are taught to do self breast exams and check for lumps. With inflammatory breast cancer there is no mass. Some symptoms could be redness, swelling, sensation of warmth and tenderness.

I am not in the medical field at all so I am not going to pretend that I can educate you properly on this but I urge you to look into it yourself if you don’t already know about it or ask your doctor.  It is a very aggressive form of cancer and is often mistaken for contact dermatitis. So, you could think you are having an allergic reaction to something here you may have breast cancer. I know it is not that simple, but I also know there are people who put there health and well being on the back burner and I urge you not to do that. I just thought I would put this out there since this is what was going through my head while I was trying to work and hike in Maine.

Yeah, ringworm is not so glamorous but at least I know I can treat it with some cream. I thought the redness, itching and aching was the beginning of IBC and now I know that it is not.



Comparison of conditions

I hope this is not to graphic for all of you out there in reader land and I hope that bringing this up will help educate some people out there who have never heard of it.

Now that I have posted that I guess I will go to the pharmacy and pick up my cream.

Also, at some point I should talk about how I don’t want to get diabetes and what I should do about that 😦

I am not a terrorist-I am just on my way to Maine

1 Jul

Despite what a Walmart sales associate once concluded based on my purchase of a 100 ft tarp, two different sized shot gun shells, and my requesting amonia, I am not a terrorist. Having said that, do not wake me up to show me the George Washington bridge! I am from northern New Jersey not from the an Al-Qaidaesque military group  so why would I be interested in New York City landmarks? I am not! So, please do not wake me up at 5:30 a.m. to show me this?  If you were my father and woke me up to say, ” There’s the river kids,” and be talking about the Delaware I would be ok with that because I miss my Dad but I do not miss New York. I was working in New York and traveling by China Town bus everyday and taking the subway to the Upper West Side when I had a mental break down. I would like to give New York another try one day. Just not today.

Anyway, I was in that car today going over the GW Bridge because I was on my way to Maine, which is where I am now! I will be working here for the month of July so expect to see some pretty awesome pictures of moose, blueberries, and ferry boats!

To get you started here is the view from the house I am staying at:

I never hiked before in my life until I worked here two years ago. Before that experience I thought there was not a single wooded area in this country that I liked. If you ask me today I will still tell you I hate deciduous forests but I do like Maine at least where I am staying in Maine. It smells like cool crisp pine trees, there is really good lobster roll, even though I won’t be having any this year because I became a vegetarian in the beginning of February (after finding my cat Sergeant with a smashed in face and the vet telling me that someone must have deliberately hit him in the face with a blunt object to cause the damage he had 😦 ) There are also a lot of great local beers, local farming and really kind people here!

By the way it is 60 degrees here. Brrr! Philadelphia has been having more Florida-like weather lately and I was not prepared for this cool pine weather. I can’t tell you the importance of  the smell and feeling of a cold pine tree. I will try in the future though, after I spend a few more days with them.

“Shiver for me.”

Sunday, Sunday Sunday

20 Jun

I thought I would get up early this morning and have plenty of time to go to the gym, get my nails done, relax and so many great things before I was supposed to meet some guy for coffee. Soon it was 11 a.m. and I was supposed to meet up with him at 2 on the opposite side of town. Opps! So instead of getting a pedicure I got a nail polish change.

It was actually a pretty annoying experience. I did actually have plenty of time to get a pedicure but when I walked in the owner said she could start in 10 minutes. Then, after 20 minutes passed she said I could start soaking my feet. Then I sat with my feet in the cold water for 20 minutes and I saw that the guy who would actually be giving me a pedicure was painting at a snail’s pace and he kept getting nail polish all over the girls’ toes.  I started getting frustrated because I knew I couldn’t wait for him to take an hour to do my toes and I didn’t want to be completely rude either and walk out. So I asked for a polish change and it still took him 20 minutes after starting. Plus I didn’t love any of the colors they had there so I chose a color I already had at home which is Elephantastic Pink by OPI. Sorry that was such a rant but come on! Just paint my nails! Grrr!!

I was in such a rush I had to leave in the little foam flip-flops!

Then I quickly got ready and was off to meet with this guy. Uhh, this guy. I dunno… I guess I should say something about who he is. He’s a professor and he is 53 and I don’t know what else. Since I broke up with the ex I didn’t think I would ever be able to date again, of course. So, as I started to feel a little better I thought I would do a little experiment with meeting people to see how I felt. I just wanted to meet someone to not be lonely with I guess. Not sure if that’s fair. I did enjoy talking to him and it was nice to talk to someone who was interested in photography and traveling. We sat for a while a drank some really good iced tea and then look around at a few galleries. It was very casual yet comfortable and I don’t know if I will ever talk to him again, maybe I will.

After not knowing why I was going to meet this guy or what it meant what it would become of it I headed over to my guilty pleasure store. MAC. Buying makeup to me is like binge eating. So I bought a lip balm, lip liner and lip gloss. All of which I love! I certainly didn’t need them though. I never do!

I purchased:

Life’s a breeze lipliner (from their To the Beach collection)

Petting Pink lip conditioner

Partial to Pink lip glass

Here I am wearing the lip glass and lip liner but instead of the tinted lip conditioner I am wearing a color-free lip conditioner. They both work amazingly well!

I just wanted to share one last thing, As I was walking to meet professor guy I stopped to take a photo of an ad that was posted.

What do you think about this post? I agree with the poster if you know you have a disease that is not curable and is easily transmitted I think it should be illegal to engage in sexual activity without disclosing this information. If there is proof that you knew you had herpes and had sex with partners and didn’t tell them I think you should be punished by fine and be responsible for medical cost. So many people have herpes out there date in your own pool! Bleh!

Please comment and tell me what you think about this flyer!  Would you do something like this if someone gave you herpes?

Very Busy Saturday

19 Jun

What a busy and fun Saturday! First I slept in late which is such a luxury for me because I usually work on Saturdays. Since I will be spending the month of July in Maine I took a few weekends off before that happens.

After sleeping in I got my haircut! Much needed haircut that is. I was looking a little ratty in the hair nest area. I only had my blackberry with me for some of these pictures so excuse the quality.


Ehh. Sorry about that. I am wearing monkey pjs!


There we go! This haircut and color took 3hrs and 15 mins but it was so worth it as it always is. If you live in Philly and want a recommendation for a wonderful cutter and colorer just ask! 🙂

Then I was off to a BBQ to visit my friends before they leave for Vermont for the summer. They have been married for almost one year.


This is my roommate Chrissy and I. She has also been working on notes for a blog. Boy, Does she have some stories! Wow! When she is up and running I will link you!

And now I must go to bed because three beers is too many!

Yes Joey, The river is just a river

17 Jun

I was having a Dawson’s Creek kinda day today. So what did I do? I listened to clips of Dawson’s creek while editing photos at work. What a terribly sad place to be, to feel like you have to listen to Joey Potter sing On My Own. hahahah!  What a hard day. Maybe tomorrow I will be able to talk about it since I will be looking back on it and not living it. Bleh.

If you had a bad day too you should check it out here. God that sounds bad.

Kitty Kitty Meow Meow We Love You

16 Jun

The Fur Gods Present:

Poa (Swahili for “calm down”)

Sir Buford M’bouya


If you want to read about Sergeant and how he lost his eye and how I raised money for his surgery you can read it all here.

All together. I have to sleep on this bed!

And to the Kitties that had to leave this world

Llao Llao ( “sweet, sweet” in the language of the indigenous Mapuche Indians of Argentina)

I found Llao Llao very ill and emaciated. I tried for a year to bring her back to life but even with all of my efforts she couldn’t recover.

Mush or Mushka (little mouse in Polish)

Memory Keeper’s Ex Boyfriend

11 Jun

Today it has been exactly three months since I broke up with the boyfriend. I am finally starting to feel a little better. The first few weeks were horrible which were to be expected but I’ve never done this before. Never broken up with anyone before, never broken up with someone after six years, and certainly never broken up with the “love of my life.”

The first week I didn’t talk to anyone, didn’t tell anyone and was really just in shock. I think I went to yoga four times that week and to the gym three times. I was very mechanical.

The second week I started freaking out. This break up felt like a divorce. We shared everything and did everything together for so long that I felt paralyzed without him. I also had this strange idea that he would take all of our memories that we had together and take them away to africa with him. He was the one in the relationship that remembered every date, every word I said and thing I wore. He also keeps a very detailed record of purchases and can recall the events of a whole day from just looking at a credit card receipt from a gas station.

I have been told I have a good memory but I don’t have a detailed record. I have random journal entries and little treasures that I’ve kept from special dinners and trips but I didn’t even know where they were. I really thought if I wasn’t with him to keep the memories alive I wouldn’t have any and when he goes ahead with our plans to move to Africa without me I would be left utterly alone.

I became very obsessed. I started collecting these memories and putting them in this purple gift box I bought from Borders especially for memories. I starting getting really upset when I couldn’t find this little neon green paper that was actually my class schedule from when I was in school. HE wrote I love you sweetheart in Swahili on that paper and I wanted to put it in my box desperately.

After three days of searching and one whole therapy session crying about Sugar taking my memories away to Africa I decided to email him and ask him this:

“Do you remember what you wrote to me in Swahili on the dry erase board and then on a little green piece of paper in red pen, when I lived at 1222 Arch Street? ”
He said yes so I asked him if he could please write it down for me again and it was really important that I have those words with me right away. He understood, because somethings that really didn’t make normal sense in my life he always did understand. So now the same person who told me they didn’t think they could be friends with me after breaking up was meeting with me at the Dunkin Donuts on the concourse and walking me to the allergist’s office to give me my memory back.

Sugar handed me a manilla envelope that had “Personal and Confidential” printed on the corner and inside on a white piece of paper because he didn’t have neon green paper, in red pen a message in Swahili. It wasn’t the original message which upset me at first because I hate change, I let it go. He wouldn’t tell me what it said though. So when I got back to the office I tried looking up each word but the translation was not very good. So… I called him.

The note said:
My sweetheart
I love you very much
Forever and ever

The last line of the message in Swahili is:
“Maisha na Milele”

He said there is no direct translation for this saying because it has a very powerful meaning. He said it means forever and ever which sounds weak compared to the true meaning. For all time, for all time that is past for all time that is present, for all time that is future and all time defined as time. Whoa! He also shared with me that it was his mother’s favorite saying which I took to mean something big because he never shares anything about his family, his language or his personal roots to his country.

On Monday after a very hard therapy session full of revelations and a long day of work I walked into a tattoo shop knowing that I wanted that message or some message on my body as a part of me forever, never to be lost or forgotten and to remind me of all of his gifts, the physical and emotional, that he has given me over the years. Gifts of pain and joy that both served a purpose and will continue to give.

When I was there in the tattoo shop I didn’t understand it then but I just got it. I was in the tattoo shop which was No Ka Oi off of South Street in Philly. Ordinarily I would look at the artist work, I would talk to them and I didn’t do those things. I said hello without asking her name and put my arm out. It took honestly 12 minutes. She was fast and accurate. It was perfect and when I looked in the mirror to see my new tattoo in HIS handwriting on my body it all made sense and I knew I would never lose those memories. I wouldn’t be making new ones with him, at least not in the same way but the old ones certainly had a place with me.

I know it sounds silly thinking someone can take your memories away with them when they leave but three years of therapy have taught me that what we understand and know to be true intellectually are very different from what we understand emotionally. They are both real but in my case and I’m sure many others, intellect doesn’t mean a thing when emotion is involved.

Don’t mess with my hippocampus. Seriously.

August 2004

4 Jun

This all started in the summer of 2004. I had been in college for a full year studying photography and then something really bad happened in my life and I needed a break from everything. I quit my job and took the semester off from school. I spent the summer reading from the time I woke up in the morning until the time I fell asleep. I was reading in the park one day when I met a woman that I eventually started working for. I took care of her one year old son at random times throughout the day while she went to the gym or while she was drawing a nude model… anyway moving right along…

I had just started watching this little boy when I met someone who I will refer to on this site as, “Sugar”.  It was August, the end of summer and I was leaving work where I had been watching the boy in Rittenhouse Square Park, as Sugar would say.

I stopped by a Chinese restaurant to get takeout for dinner. I ordered a spring roll and steamed dumplings and sat down on the bench to wait for it. While I was waiting a tall, handsome man wearing a blue suit and caring a brown leather briefcase walked in. When he approached the counter to place a to-go order himself the man at the counter already knew his order, chicken and broccoli, extra broccoli.

I didn’t realize this until much later but I actually picked him up by saying the following, “So, come here often?”  We chatted for a few minutes after that. He asked me if I went to school in the area and I answered that I went to art school just down the street. I asked, “How about you?” and he said “School? I haven’t been in school since 1984.” I replied, “1984, that is the year I was born.”

His food was ready pretty much right after that and he said it was nice talking to me or something nice and to that effect and he walked out the door. Then he turned around and opened his brief case. He pulled out a business card and handed it to me and told me if I ever needed anything to give him a call.

I read that business card. He worked for an insurance company. What help with insurance would I need. No, I really knew what he meant though.

Days passed and I decided to email him and in his response to my email he asked me out to the restaurant of my choice. We started dating almost exclusively right after our first date.

We were on our way to dinner at Smith & Wollensky Summer 2005

That was six years ago. In the time we had together a lot has happened. We have traveled to six countries together and two more on my own. I have moved seven times, all within Philadelphia. I got my Associate’s degree in photography and then my bachelor’s degree. I have gone through one mental break down and three years of therapy. I have a niece and a nephew now and one goddaughter. I have acquired three orange cats. I interned for my greatest photographic inspiration of all time, Mary Ellen Mark and volunteered on an Elephant Sanctuary in Arkansas. I had laparoscopic cholecystectomy and have become a vegetarian. He was by my side through all of these things in his own unique way and on March 11, 2010 something came over me. I couldn’t be with him anymore. We sat in a Mexican restaurant that we went to regularly and I tried not to make a scene but something was different and something was wrong. I didn’t make the decision to break up with him, my body did and as I sat there crying I couldn’t eat. We had to leave. We walked back to his apartment and I sat there and told him things I never thought I would say. “Every time I said I loved you and we would be together forever I meant it.” I never thought we would not be together but I need to be on my own now.” These were some of the hardest things I have ever said in my life and I am tearing up as I sit here in my apartment alone and write this. He was the living version of all of my dreams and for six years I have called him Sugar, which he will always be to me.

Molecular structure of sucrose aka: Sugar, tattooed on my left forearm 2008