Friday, November 21, 2008


Last Saturday, we took pictures of a large family group, some of which have been clients for years. Nice folks, the ones we know, but I did have a bit of an issue. There were several small children in the group, and while most of the adults were in another room setting up a viewing appointment, only one adult male and a few older kids were watching the little ones.

Now, we keep a candy dish on the front desk. It usually has sugar-free mints in it, me being diabetic and also not wanting to contribute to any sugar rushes on the part of the kids we photograph. But for the holiday we added a few peppermint Kisses, and the tiny Tootsie Roll Pops. You're ahead of me here, I know. While the older kids were great at making sure little ones didn't play on the stairs, they did nothing to keep them out of the candy dish. They made more regular trips to it than a pig does his favorite wallow. The second youngest decided to make a fell swoop, and when she started cramming her fourth piece in her hand, smiling slyly at me like I was a co-conspirator, I said I thought she had plenty. Wiped that smile clean off her face. LOL At this point the previously full dish was half-empty, and when the littlest one came back (and the adults were back too, but paying no attention) with an unwrapped lollipop in her hand, and having had several pieces already, I said honey, I think you've had enough.

Big mistake. In trying to prevent a kid from ODing on candy, I provoked a meltdown. To the accusatory stare of her mother, I watched the kid collapse in tears and bury her face in mom's legs. I explained I was trying to be helpful, all the while biting back the desire to say if you watched your spawn, I wouldn't have to be the police. DH told me the kid had several meltdowns during the sitting too, so I think it's just her modus operandi.

I told you that to tell you this. :-)

Today, the same family has TWO viewing appointments to accomodate the large number wanting to see the pictures, and their various schedules. Unusual, but okay. Several folks show up at the appointed time and go in to view the pictures.

Where I sit at my desk, I can hear anyone coming up the front steps and onto the porch. I do hear someone come up, but then nothing. Odd, thinks I, and get back to the strenuous game of Spider Solitaire I'm playing whilst I await the order upon which I will next work. Quite a few minutes later, I hear the door open. SuzyG, receptionist extraordinaire, is at lunch, so I go out of the office to wait upon whomever.

And find a man yakking on his cell phone. I ask if I may help him, and he tells me he's one of the people who should be in the appointment...twenty minutes after it started! He then continues yapping on the phone. I tell him they are in this room, displaying the door with my best Vanna White hand gestures. He walks past it, down the hall. I correct him, cracking the door open and saying to those inside that another family member is here. He waves at me irritably, giving me the universal "Don't interrupt me" motion with his palm out facing me.

Oh, REALLY? Are you here in OUR business to do YOURS? One older gent peeks out at him, and he apparently then goes in the sales room. I say apparently because I left the hall rather than continue on to get the large knife in the kitchen to surgically remove the phone from his ear. Then I hear him come out, jabber a bit, and go outside again. Fine. Be outside and talk. Only it's cold, and he doesn't stay there, going in and out four times. Guess he thinks heat is free. Finally he starts wandering around reception (the office I'm in is right off that room) talking intensely into his phone. "What I want to know, Scott...what I want to know...why is she suddenly upset today? Why today?" Gee, I don't know...maybe you're rude beyond belief with her too? Then he has the nerve, gall and presumption to walk into the office, in spite of a partially closed door clearly saying 'PRIVATE.' I hate few things more than being made to feel like a zoo animal on display, and a give him my best "I beg your pardon?!?" look. I learned it from Dixie Carter on Designing Women.

He did at last finish up and take care of our business with him, after everyone else was done. Folks, I love cell phones. I'm a huge gadget geek, and I'm a firm believer in convenience, especially mine. But I'm sick unto death of people who think we all want to be part of their private little world. I do not want to see you driving with a phone up to your's my life you're endangering. I do not want to listen to your argument while I'm trying to enjoy a romantic dinner. I do not want to be interrupted in what we are doing because someone calls or texts you. And while I'm at it, I don't want to listen to your loud, occasionally obscene, ringtones either. As my mother used to say, if you can't play nicely with it, don't play at all.

And you're right, I don't feel so badly about making the little girl cry anymore, either.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Camo Gear

Yesterday was an exhausting day. Looking at the upcoming schedule, and knowing my receptionist had a bit of a lull, we decided to go ahead and decorate the inside of the studio for the holidays. The outside will wait till after Turkey Day, but in this economic climate, we need to remind customers that they can holiday shop with us. Our studio tree is all Scottie ornaments other than the angel (I don't like any of the Scottie ones out there), a few crystal snowflakes and garland, and one token Sheltie. Last year we moved from a four foot tree to a seven foot one, and it looks great. My digital cannot do the lights justice, but this gives you an idea. Note the Santa sitting in the corner, and the dogs going up the stairs.
BTW, and nothing to do with yesterday, I finally finished my socks. I could have made the cuffs higher, but I don't usually wear my socks very high, so I stopped. One of the numerous benefits of knitting socks toe-up. I just love the colors.

Back to yesterday. My grandson Cameron is about to turn 5, and his mom, aka my daughter, wanted to do some studio pictures with him in preference to buying the dreck the school photographer put out. That's her characterization; I didn't see them. Okay, she said something other than dreck, but I'm feeling polite today.

So in came Camo. A lean mean manipulative machine. That kid had the undiluted attention of four adults, and acted up accordingly. Oh, nothing really bad, just what you'd expect. My favorite was him darting, shirtless, out of the dressing room, but modestly holding his hands over his wee nipples - then running downstairs to do his semi-streak for the receptionist! Little stinker.

On the other hand, the camera utterly loves this child. Even when he'd do mock-frown, it was cute on a serious scale. I had two goals. He got his sweater that I made him early so I could get pics of him in it. I'm glad I added the little front pocket, and the hood looks cute on too. He has lovely blue eyes, and this really brings them out. I adore the feet in this shot too.

My second goal was for the next shot. And in spite of the fact that I had "glowed" off most my makeup in the decorating frenzy, I wanted a picture with him. Yes, this is the real me. No retouching other than the edge softening that you can see for photo effect. See what you think.

I'm going to send that one off for a couple prints, which is why it has our logo on it already. BTW, when having your portrait made with a grandchild, always have their arm wrapped around your neck. Hides a lot of stuff better hidden. ;-)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Run Ragged

I have a half-sister, Laura. She's younger than my fact, she's younger than 3 of our father's grandchildren. Therefore, she's never felt like a sister to me since we didn't grow up together, but more like another niece. This past Thursday she got married, and the DH (and to a small extent, I) was the photographer. We had to travel four and a half hours to get to the place of the service and reception, a 4H camp at the other end of the state. Unfortunately, we couldn't go out there the night before because I had class. So after a long-ish drive, we got to the camp a bit early so DH could change into his suit. The nice folks at the dining hall where the reception was to be held let us in, and we got ready. We expected the bride no later than three.

The service was to be held in an open air amphitheater that was truly lovely. I took this shot shortly after we got there. The day was gorgeous, if a trifle nippy out. The sun was shining, the sky was a crystal-clear blue, and we sat and watched chipmunks run, and dozens of goldfinches play in that big evergreen you see. And we waited. Laura is chronically late. We were called and told there were wardrobe and hair issues, and basically the bride wouldn't be there until right before the service. This presented an issue for us only because we were losing light fast, and the temperature was dropping accordingly. We did get shots of the groom, Eric, and his groomsmen. He wasn't fazed by Laura's being late at all.

As we were waiting, a woman brought her camera up and asked one of the groomsmen to take her picture with Eric. I thought it was maybe an aunt, because she was wearing a skirt with a basic cardigan, and her hair pulled back in a gray, flat ponytail. I went ahead and snapped the shot too, and good thing. Turns out to have been his mother! He made some comment about Laura being late, and I laughed and said, "You didn't expect Laura to be on time, did you?" Mother answered very tersely, "Yes!" Rut-roh. So I waited a beat and replied, "Hope springs eternal." Eric busted up laughing, and so an uncomfortable moment passed.

The wedding began, and the girls looked lovely. Laura had chosen fall shades for her bridesmaids, and the gowns looked Victorian, all ruched up in the back in scallops. Just gorgeous. My nephew and little niece were ringbearer and one of the flower girls. The service was a nice traditional one, but everyone was getting very cold. After the receiving line the guests made gratefully for the dining hall as the wedding party had more photos done in the waning light. I just love the artistry of this one.

The reception was rather surprising in its simplicity. Knowing Laura and her mom I expected things to be a bit more on the lavish side, but it suited the venue. Dinner was served family-style. The DJ, IMHO, sucked. He not only started and finished with a commercial for himself, but then, as everyone is eating, suddenly blurts out that it's time for the toast, and thrusts the microphone in the best man's hand while the poor guy is still chewing! After the cake cutting, he announces that the staff is cutting the cake. I burst out in loud laughter (couldn't help it!) and corrected him...the two women doing the cutting were my other two sisters, both clearly not wearing the polo shirts and pants that the 4H staff were. The idiot hardly played any slow songs all evening, which I hate to see at a wedding. Yeah, you want to party, but you also want to dance close with the one you love.

I did get to do something I haven't done since my early with my father. Unlike most men of MY generation, the man can dance. And I was so ridiculously proud of myself that I didn't miss a step with him. The rest of the night all my siblings and I did a lot of dancing together. I even got one or two in with the DH once he was off-duty. I was so sore the next day! And not just from the dancing.

No alcohol was served. Which makes what happened to me so ridiculous - I fell on the dance floor! My shoes were a bit big on me, and I blamed it on that, but the truth is, I tried to go a little too low and overbalanced. I landed most ungracefully, and on the arm that's been giving me fits anyway. Of course, I had to get up and keep dancing or have everyone worry about me, and put a damper on the fun. What a trooper I am, I say, modestly.

Afterward, we headed to our hotel to make sure we got the images off-loaded safely. Nice room in the Hampton Inn, but I wish I'd known they had a pool. That's such a restful way to wind down. Up the next morning, breakfast, and on the road. My darling DH had encouraged me to look for yarn shops, and we stopped at one in Fairmont. The stupid place was closed, so that, and I quote the sign, "I can spend Halloween with my family. If it's a yarn emergency, or you made a special trip, please call and I'll be right there." Good grief. You know the kids, if any, were in school, so what's that about? And no, I was not arrogant enough to call. Okay, I am but I didn't. Next thing she'll take off for Arbor Day.

So on to another shop in Morgantown, small selection and garrulous shop attendant. I bought just enough to be polite and make a shrug for Jess, as she is NOT getting the alpaca one I finished for myself on the drive home. I got some very nice soft acrylic/polyamid that is more in keeping with her laundering preferences. She likes it, so all's well. I found another yarn shop that got rave reviews, but had no time to stop. We were all meeting up for lunch with my mother, so the sister from GA could see her for her birthday. So at 1pm ,mom, DH, me, both sisters, one BIL, two nieces, and the one niece's fiance' all had lunch.

On to the studio to grab our football announcing bag, mad dash home to let out the dogs (Jess had stayed with them for us), then on to announce the senior-night football game. We were playing a team that was 9-0. We were 2-6. And damned if we didn't beat 'em! It was a very tight game, back and forth, our guys playing like they hadn't all season. We were tied in the last minutes, and sure we were headed for overtime, when one of our players who'd been just stunning all night intercepted a pass and ran 65 yards to score. I was hoarse from cheering, and the whole team swarmed the field. Just incredible.

Yesterday was Mom's birthday, and we did some shopping while the DH shot yet another wedding. Joyce has my name for Christmas and bought me a cardigan I tried on that looks mahvelous on me. Wench is making me wait for it though. :-/ Then we had our joint birthday dinner at our place. My eldest and her family, Mom, my next youngest sister and I all pigged out on steak, shrimp and the fixin's, including a Key Lime cake. Since my birthday is Thursday (I know your present is on the way), I received a gorgeous purple pashmina from mom, and some very sweet opal earrings from Joyce. This morning they were off for PA, only returning once for Mom's book and coat. LOL

Today is vegging. I'm wiped out! Now, where's the rest of that cake?