Tuesday, April 16, 2013

10 on Tuesday at 10 at night


1. It will be a small miracle if I get this posted today. But, because my to-do list is a mile long and I need to be CLEANING, all I wanna do is blog.

The need to scrub a bathroom has that effect on me.

2. My dad is coming on Friday! Hooray! My mother-in-law is arriving TOMORROW (see #1), and my soul sisters from San Francisco and Flagstaff (and their families) are joining us to celebrate Sean, who will be turning 8 on Monday and making his First Communion on Sunday. Three Hoorays!

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3. I love traditions, and I am so very grateful family and friends are gathering for this rite of passage in Sean’s journey of faith. I’m making a promise to myself right now not to stress out about what isn’t done or however I see myself falling short compared to the phantom idea in my head of how to be a good host, because I really want to soak in just getting to be with each of these people.

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4. Speaking of faith, Seth Godin had a wonderful take on being brought up with a lot of faith in a non-religious family during his interview with Krista Trippet on NPR’s On Being.

5. Getting to listen to a good podcast is one of the only things that motivates me to clean (see #1).

6. I don’t even attempt to keep up with my favorite blogs, so I never consider myself behind. I just stop in when I can and peek around for what I missed. Elise has a lovely, inspiring blog, and recently posted a wonderful piece on the unexpected parts of pregnancy (in her case, gestational diabetes).  Since so many of you are mommas waiting for your baby to arrive, I’d love for you to read it. Here’s my favorite part:
But the good news is, I am over the Plan. I am beyond worrying and stressing and worst-case scenario-ing. This baby has been prayed for and planned for and dreamed about for years. Of course I will continue to fight for her and fight for us; the moment I knew she was coming I signed an invisible, but binding contract to do whatever I could to get her here safely. Prick my finger? Any time. Drink 100g of glucose and throw up in front of a waiting room full of people? Happy to. Give up dessert? Obviously. Put a giant red X through "the ideal situation" and embrace our situation? Done and done. Relax my Type A tendencies today, tomorrow and delivery day? Check, check, check. Trust in my body & my baby? Absolutely.
7. Remember when I said I should whine about wanting an iPhone in every 10onTuesday post here? Well, there’s a rumor going ‘round. We shall see. (Which means, send me all your favorite app recommendations in case the rumor’s true!)

8. Have you already seen this article from the Deseret News that has made the rounds on Facebook? I don’t even have a smart phone, but I was not a fan of this piece. I couldn’t put my finger on it exactly---my “one little word” this year is PRESENT so I felt like I “should” like it but perhaps that word “should” captures the whole condescending tone of the article. There have been several responses online, with this one being my favorite: Dear Mom on the iphone (another perspective) by Ashlee.

Yes, we all need to disengage from screens, but even more we all need compassion for each other. You never know the whole story of what someone else is dealing with today.

9. Our hearts and prayers are with Boston and all of the people effected by the random violence yesterday. Remember that Ebert quote about what makes us cry more than cruelty? Kindness. Watching the footage yesterday, I was so moved by the police officers who were on the scene and who immediately moved toward those who were hurt. I am so in awe of people whose first response isn’t just “how can I get out of here?!” but “how can I help?” The senseless violence is heartbreaking, but my tears were for the heart-building, for the compassion of strangers toward each other.

I hope I can carry that same attitude with me---to have even a bit of that in the small moments, when annoyed by tourists driving in our town or impatient at our crowded grocery store. “How can I help?” is a refrain I want in my head.

Sean on his 1st birthday

10. It will be quiet on the blog for the next week (see #2)---check back next week for a recap of our wild and crazy Sean-celebration (that’s him on his 1st birthday above *sigh*), and for some exciting Mother’s Day news!


Monday, April 15, 2013

Photo+Quote | April Blog Hop


That tall brownstone in the photo, the one with Loyola University of Chicago painted on its side, is Lakefront Hall. A college dorm made up of small apartments. 3C was the apartment I shared with Molly, Roseanne, and Jennifer freshmen year; sophomore year with Molly, Stephanie, and Erin. I loved that apartment---looking out over Lake Michigan, it felt as if you were on a ship. You couldn't see land, and you could fall asleep to the sound of the waves hitting the building below. Junior and senior year I lived in my own apartment in the same building as a resident assistant. I had amazing supervisors and mentors, Bill Gehant and Kris Coyle, who taught me as much as my professors did. I grew up there, came into myself, learned so much there.

I loved my life at Loyola. I had an amazing community of friends, a wonderful boyfriend, a city full of life and energy all around me. Which is why I was so afraid to leave. And why I consider it brave, in retrospect, that I did. My parents wanted me to stay in Illinois, take a teaching position and turn down grad school. Or, more accurately, my mother wanted me to. Now that I have children of my own, I can understand her reluctance to let me move across the country on my own. Back then, it seemed like just another attempt to crush my happiness.

My father left his hometown at a much younger age, left his country and then his continent. I only appreciated his bravery when I was older, homesick for my own homeland as a volunteer overseas. In his own way, he gave me the encouragement I needed that summer of 1991.

Leaving the familiar, breaking away, giving up what I knew. It wasn't brave in a "saving someone from a burning building" kind of way, but it did save me. I saved myself by facing those fears and trusting that, as good as life at Loyola was, I had to let it go in order to discover the life waiting for me.

Only after writing this, I've realized that letting-go and trusting-the-unknown have been themes in my life. Perhaps it is a theme of every life, just part of being human and living with change. Still, in hindsight I see all the best choices of my life have been those in which I've relinquished the reins, let go of the known and been open to change. And each time I've called on the eager excitement, curiosity, and courage of my 21-year-old self.   

Photo taken on my trusty Canon Snappy-Q on the top of Mertz Hall in 1991.

Photo+Quote is a monthly series that I’m using to dig deeper into my own archives. On the 15th of every month we are challenged to pair a chosen quote with a photograph.You can see how the other photographers in the series interpreted this month’s quote by following the blog hop to Pam Parisi at P Squared Studios in California.



Sunday, April 14, 2013

Simple Things Sunday: Week#13, 2013

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I hope my boys will remember the day I lied and told them they had dentist appointments. I picked them up early from school, and Nolan announced “April Fools!” We went to Milt’s and ate hamburgers outside instead, and then took ice cream cones with us to Matheson Nature Preserve where they hiked a bit, had sword fights with sticks, and told stories.

I wish there were more days like this one. And in the far off future, when they think of me and remember being nagged to eat with their mouth closed, or my admonitions to put things away, my impatience or my worst moments, I hope they also remember these moments, when I was able to surprise them a little.

Mostly, I hope they remember how happy I was just being with them.




Tuesday, April 9, 2013

AevaLane | Moab Utah Newborn Photographer

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Another beautiful baby girl, welcomed by a loving family in Moab. Makes my heart happy.
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A few of my favorite things: Baby toes. In Daddy’s hands. And a little grin.


Saturday, April 6, 2013

See you at the movies, Roger.

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Roger Ebert was a favorite topic in my family, especially between my brother Kevin, my sister Maria and me. We grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, in a movie-obsessed family where a quick rejoinder was held in higher esteem than straight A’s. So, of course, we all watched Siskel & Ebert, back when it was “Sneak Previews” on WTTW and as “At The Movies” and finally, as it always had been anyway, “Siskel & Ebert.” We loved Ebert in print, Siskel on the show.

We naively thought we knew something that Roger wasn’t fully aware of, that he wasn’t really a movie critic but a frustrated essayist. Roger knew all along, and when he lost his ability to speak due to cancer, he no longer held back but wrote on all the topics he once just snuck in amid the film analysis.

I own at least a couple collections of his old reviews, though they are all available now online. Once upon a time, when the internet did not exist, we would pour over that book and call out one great title after another and read aloud to each other what Roger thought.

Too often I enjoyed his review more than the movie. When teaching The Great Gatsby or The Portrait of a Lady, I  included his reviews of their (extremely inferior) film-versions, because he was always more interested in discussing the real themes of the novels than the flaws of the films. I gave my students copies of his review of Grass, a documentary he dismisses in one line, but uses to write his own persuasive essay on legalizing marijuana.

I also enjoyed disagreeing with him when he was wrong (e.g. Heartburn, a great movie). To find any reliability in a critic, you have to know their weaknesses or where your tastes overlap and where they part ways. We used to joke that you had to subtract a star from Ebert’s review if a movie contained a lesbian sex scene or a plot involving a boy and his dog. It wasn’t that Ebert was the most reliable critic, just that his reviews were the best written. We usually chose to see the movie first, then read the review. Still, there are favorites I discovered or sought out only because I first learned of them via Ebert’s page: Beyond Silence, Truly Madly Deeply, Tully, Nothing But the Truth ( the last actually discovered via Kevin when he attended Ebertfest).

When I learned Ebert died on April 4th, I emailed Maria and Kevin, and then searched my email just with the phrase Ebert. It makes me sad to know I won’t get another email like so many I found that says, “read this” with a link to his site.

Some of my favorite Ebert truths:

  • Audiences are more touched by goodness than by sadness. Tears come not because something terrible has happened, but because something good has happened, which reveals the willingness of people to be brave and kind. (from his review of “Tully”, sent by my sister Maria. How true this is! Kindness, more than tragedy, can move me to tears.)
  • No good movie is too long and no bad movie is too short.
  • And along those same lines: “In thinking about 'depressing movies,' many people don't realize that all bad movies are depressing, and no good movies are.”
  • The muse visits during the act of creation, not before.
  • All I require of a religion is that it be tolerant of those who do not agree with it.
  • An honest bookstore would post the following sign above its 'self-help' section: 'For true self-help, please visit our philosophy, literature, history and science sections, find yourself a good book, read it, and think about it.’

In 2004 he wrote poignantly and prophetically in his review of The Sea Inside. While admiring the film, he disagreed with the main character’s perception that life with severe disabilities would not be worth living. Even then he recognized that his innate curiosity would make him want to live. Two years later, as a result of surgery for cancer, he lost his ability to eat, drink or speak. And yet he lived and wrote passionately.

In this last decade, I came to enjoy his reflections on growing up Catholic in the Midwest more than his reviews. My friend Angie sent me his memoir Life Itself a few years ago, and these are the closing lines:

“I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.”

I’m grateful I got to be one of his readers for the past 30+ years. I can’t wait to someday see a documentary that captures the humor and poignancy of his relationship with Siskel. Television no longer has serious conversations about movies. Theaters no longer have balconies. But we still have movies, we still have stories, and we still have joy to contribute.




Thursday, April 4, 2013

Behind the Lens with KaLeigh Welch

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Welcome to the third in our Behind the Lens series, which features a different local photographer each season. I hope you enjoy getting to know KaLeigh Welch as much as I have.  Even though I’m at least 10 years older than KaLeigh, we have a lot in common, beyond our shared affection for the same lens and chocolate! She has a magic touch with seniors, and is sure to become an expert in newborn photography after she welcomes her very own first child this year! 

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How did your passion for photography start/develop?

While my husband was in the military I was always surrounded by young beautiful mommas-to-be and was inspired to help them capture those maternity moments. I started out with a black sheet, Sony point and shoot, and PICASA in the back bedroom of our house. Slowly what developed was a passion for helping people capture memories that they could look back on for the rest of their lives.

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What’s one of your most recent or favorite photo purchases?

I just purchased a Canon 5d Mark III. It is amazing! The image quality is superb!

What brought you to Moab?

Born and raised! I have traveled to some amazing places but I always say that Moab is the most breath taking. I love the diversity in landscape and people. I couldn’t choose a better place for my own little family to grow.

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What’s something you wish you had known when you first started your business?

Not to buy a Camera Kit! For portraits I love my Canon 50mm 1.4. If I had to choose this would be the only lens I own.

What is your favorite kind of photo shoot?

Seniors! Seniors! Seniors! I could shoot them all day every day! I love getting the chance to help them show their personality in their portraits. They want to look good and they are so full of life and willing to do and try anything new!

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What’s an area of photography where you have seen yourself grow?

An area of photography I have seen myself grow is lighting techniques and editing and I am still growing. I love rays of sunshine in the afternoon. For me a ray of light through the shot makes it perfect!

If you could photograph any individual living or deceased, who would it be & why?

My Grandpa Jim for sure, he passed away in 2001. I didn’t get enough time with him in this life and would love to have captured his personality if only to spend one photo session with him. He was a great man and I wish I would have known him better.

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What are some of the creative ways you’ve found to juggle being a mother/business owner/photographer in Moab?

Well juggling…. I am about to find out about all of that! We just found out the happy news that we are having our first wee one due on October 7th! So please any tips that you have for juggling mother/business owner/photographer and full-time employee…please share! It’s going to take work but I will find a way to do it all.

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If you were having your family photographed, what location in Moab would you choose?

Hmmm….that’s a tuffy. Do I have to choose? For this one I am going to say the wet lands preserve in some tall grasses during the golden light. There are just too many to choose from, I dislike even having to say! LOL

Random facts about KaLeigh:

Favorite sweet treat: Chocolate

Favorite song to play loud in your car: Too many!

Three things that always make you happy: my hubby, a movie and food!

Thank you, KaLeigh, for sharing your perspective and your beautiful images with us. You can learn more about KaLeigh by visiting her Facebook page and see more of her work at KaLeigh Welch Photography.

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Behind the Lens graphic created with Kirstin Cronin-Barrow’s Going Places kit. You can learn about other photographers in our Behind the Lens series here.  If you are a local photographer and interested in being featured in our Behind the Lens series, please contact me via this link. Thanks!




Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Perspective

I'm excited to be participating in another challenge with other photographers. On the 2nd of every month, we'll be using a different word or topic as the impetus for the photos we share.

This month the word is perspective.



Noell Hyman recently discussed the challenge of photographing tween-age boys. Unlike his five-year-old brother, Aidan isn't going to don a superhero costume and ask me to take his photo. The majority of my shots of Aidan (excluding the funny face ones) are of him reading. I love that he is a true O'Malley, passionate about stories and books, and *someday* I'll make a layout of those reading shots over the years.

This week I wanted to get the same shot from a different perspective. I believe the book in his lap is N.E.R.D.S. by Michael Buckley. I love the half-eaten Granny Smith apple, because that is as constant a fixture in his life as the books. I buy at least twenty of them a week. We've ordered two Granny Smith trees from the Youth Garden to plant this spring.

As always, I see a bit of myself in my oldest. A book and an apple were touchstones of my childhood too. My mom used to tease me because, even after I got braces and no longer ate apples while reading, I would hold my hand out to the side, thumb and index finger a couple inches apart, as if still holding an apple.

To see PERSPECTIVE as interpreted by the other photographers in our group, head over to Janecke's site and then follow the circle back here!





Monday, April 1, 2013

Moab Newborn: Arrow

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This little boy, oh my.

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I swear he knew what he was doing.

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When I said I wanted to get a shot of his toes, he considerately lifted his out of the blanket. Seriously.

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A keeper, a sweetheart, a joy.




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