Monday, December 9, 2013

Harlow meet Snow. Snow? This is Harlow.

121613.snow2 from C.M. Scott on Vimeo.

121613.snow3 from C.M. Scott on Vimeo.

This one gets good about 20 seconds in...

121613.snow1 from C.M. Scott on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


After adopting Harlow my friend Debby sent a few stuffed animals for her to love (or in her case, destroy). All were form Pixar's Monster's Inc, because Debby works at Pixar. One was of a goat pig hybrid of some sort which was in the movie.

In the mornings when I leave Harlow, I often like to leave a few things on top of her crate. She likes to yank them through the rungs of the crate and it gives her something to do. Rarely can she not get the item to join her in the crate by the end of the day.

Apparently goatpigthing's head was too big.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Am I Blue?

Today was an exciting day! It was freezing here in Boston, but that wasn't the exciting part. The exciting part was that Harlow and I took a little field trip to Watertown where we met Peter and Kristin for the first time. They are the owners/parents of Harlow's brother Blue!

Both of the puppies, I learned after adopting Harlow, were abandoned at the bottom of some woman's driveway. That some woman brought the two puppies to a local who fosters stray dogs. That foster woman connected with Survivor Tails Animal Rescue based here in Medford, and that's how the two puppies ended-up up in the north so close to each other.

It was fascinating. I have no idea if siblings know each other at all after being away for a long time, or even a short one for that matter, but they sure seemed to know each other!

We walked them to a nearby park where we chatted as our teeth chattered and the two of them ran and wrestled and tumbled like crazy, oblivious to the frigid temps.

Peter said that he was quite sure that they have Bluetick Coonhound in them. I didn't really see it, until I heard it; Blue let out a howl that was SO HOUND, I knew Peter must be right. And it would explain the size of the two dogs too. Believe it or not, Blue is actually even bigger than Harlow!

It is possible that they have two different dads, but I think they just look too similar for that to be the case.

Harlow's on the right

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Flying Dog

Last night Kristyn was hanging out and Harlow was not sitting still. She was a Snotty McBratty for sure last night. 'Kept barking to go out. I'd take her out and she'd get a stick and lie down with it as if it was a mild evening and outside was just the place to be, rather than reality where it was extremely cold out and I had company.

Kristyn took her out at one point and when they came back in, she'd clearly tried to run the ants out of the dog's pants. I heard Harlow before I saw her. I was sitting at the far end of the couch, and she came bounding back in from outside in great excitement, ran straight at me, launched herself into the air from about two yards away and landed, all 40+ pounds of her, right on top of me. All legs and heavy hair.
It was uncomfortable but very funny.

Twerking and Tweaking

Last night I was shooting a talk about stress management at the school. The student presenter was  talking about making a list of goals to help you focus and keep organized.

"If after a week or so you find that you're having trouble accomplishing the things on your list, just twerk it a little bit and keep trying"

Oh, honey, twerking is most definitely NOT the same as tweaking, which I'm pretty sure is what you meant.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Crate Tray

Since the *eh hem* incidences keep coming, I guess the blog entries will too.

Harlow and I slept in a bit which was very nice and the morning was typical, the weather outside mild.
I left around 10 for a photo shoot which was followed by a massage appointment (one I was in serious need of because of my recent workload at BU).

I returned around 3PM to find this...

She had somehow managed to rip apart the very hard plastic tray in the bottom of her crate. I didn't yell. I was almost impressed. Relieved that she hadn't somehow hurt herself. I wondered if this was anxiety related or just boredom?  Neither were very good options but since I was quite confident a Gremlin hadn't into my home and done this, it was at least one or the other.  And a clear sign that whatever inspired her to do this, it will likely happen again.  I plan on getting a replacement tray and spraying it's edges with bitter apple to deter any future redesign attempts.

I had hoped to puppy-proof the kitchen so she could be a bit more free when I left the house. 'Guess that's not happening for a while. I can't fathom what she'd do to my new cabinets!

I didn't punish her but I did grumble as I cleaned up her mess. Making it clear by not paying much attention to her that I wasn't happy about what she'd just done.

The afternoon passed and we were outside for a lot of it, cleaning leaves...

Harlow supervised. 

In the evening, we had fun playing the Ring the bell not because I have to pee or poop but because I wanna go outsiiiiiiiide! game.

I hate that game. 

I even caught her *pretending* to pee during one of the rounds and then running over to me proudly for a treat! I couldn't believe it.

Except I've met this creature, and I can totally believe it.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Harlow is 43 Pounds!

When I look at the photo from a few entries ago I can hardly believe that's my dog, that little thing! When I picked Harlow up in mid September she was already quite a bit bigger than she was in that photo from her online adoption ad, but still. She weighed about 30 pounds when I got her two months ago and now she's 43 pounds!

We have had our challenges but it's been great really. She still doesn't like her crate, but now that I take her by the collar (rather than trying to sweet talk her) and bring her to her crate, she's much more tolerant of getting in. I often put in toys that hold treats. When I arrive home at the end of the day, she is happy to get out, but also happy to grab that treat filled toy and devour it's contents. Apparently they taste better when someone is around to observe your treat finding prowess.

Dad comes to visit her often. I think they both enjoy it, and a dog walker come in the late morning every day to take her out. While it's not a service I want to keep forever and always, I do clearly see how Harlow has been socialized well by being taken out regularly, exposed to others dogs and even my walker's kid...

when I saw this one on my walker's FB page, I shared it, adding "Well, I don't know who this adorable child is but I'm sure glad my dog isn't eating him!"

She has become more comfortable with her yard. Very comfortable, actually. A few weekends ago she squeezed through the space between the gate and the carport and headed out for a little walk on her own. I saw this happen and knew if I chased her she'd fun. So, I casually walked behind her. She crossed the street, slowing down one car. I waved sheepishly.

A neighbor I had not yet met was leaving her home as Harlow crossed the street. "Well, thanks! I don't mind if I do invite myself into your home!" and Harlow ran right in!  Fortunately it was a closed in foyer, but I apologized profusely and fortunately the neighbor, who I now know is named Linda love puppies. Good thing.

She has endured a few baths and does very well with them. She will even start to shake while still int he tub and stop as though she consciously realizes that the suds will fly off her and in the end she will be less clean from the soap removal.

We've been recently having some frustration with house breaking. So quickly I forget that just because she seems to get the hang of it doesn't mean you stop giving her treats and making a big deal when she does the right thing. One day started off very rough when she pooped in the hall when I was in the shower and then got rid of the evidence. Later that evening, she refused to poop outside. I tried taking hr out over and over with no luck. We went out for one last try very late and still no luck even though I gave her plenty of time.

We went upstairs to my office. I sat at my desk and turned to find her pooping in the corner. I have never yelled at her like I did that night.

So, now it's back to lots of super-juicy treats and praise when she does it right and we seem to be getting back on track.

Harlow's allowed on the couch every once in a while, but only
when she's on someone's lap. Surprisingly (I'm probably jinxing it) she doesn't to get on it anymore.  Above is a video of her being weird with my friend Kristyn, who comes by regularly for TV and commentary fun.

for a little size comparison, this photo was taken in early October.

Friday, October 4, 2013


Harlow still doesn't like her crate. Well, I don't think it's the crate so much as simply being alone. The other day I blocked her off from the kitchen using part of the puppy pen I bought and as I mopped, she barked. And barked. And barked. It's very annoying, but more that that, it's disconcerting. I don't want to punish her for being upset, so much like when I put her in the crate and she barks and barks and barks, I don't want to put a bark collar on her because that will simply make the anxiety that comes with the crate higher.

I don't have a huge amount of respect for humans who can't entertain themselves when alone, and as a kid, I had a time when I had very severe separation anxiety problems. The irony is not lost on me. 

The biggest concern which has now wained, was the fact that she wouldn't poop outside, but she would poop in her crate ten minutes after I put her in there. It seemed to me that she hadn't caught on to the right place to poop, but also it upset her so much that she just lost her shit, literally, when I crated her for the night (or when I went to work).  So, in an effort to get her to go outside, I would coax her into her crate with yummy treats and get her in there and leave her to bark and wail for ten minutes, at which time I would get her outside before poop happens.

Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't.  Sometimes, it wouldn't work and I had to take her outside and tie her up so I could hose her down, then clean off the crate tray as thoroughly as possible, and pop more soiled towels in the laundry. Again. I did a lot of laundry for a bit there. Sometimes I would have to go to work and the dog walker would come home to a slightly poopy crate, but not too bad.

Which is when I realized she's eating her poop.  I did some research and discovered that adding pineapple to their food tastes good to them going down, but not once it's out the other end. Mission accomplished. The next time she pooped outside and approached, she recoiled!

Two weeks of effort - watching her patterns, figuring out her schedule, watching what she ate and drank and when she did so - have paid off. In fact, she has not peed or pooped in the house in four days at least. Though there was that one incident when I was blow drying my hair and that freaked her out and she pooped in her bed in the hallway right outside the bathroom. That was my bad.  Other than that she's doing really well with the house training.  So well actually, that I haven;t seen her poop or pee anywhere but out yard in a specific area.  Correction, she refuses to poop or pee anywhere but her own yard.

That's something to work on next.

My dog walker posted this on FB and I found it so funny. Apparently it was shy day int he dog walking club that day. I'm hoping one of these fellows can teach Harlow that it's OK to pee placed other than at home!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Harlow's Eyelashes

Friday, September 20, 2013

Pinky Pick-Up

On September 17, 2013, I drove up to Manchester, NH to pick up Pinky. She was there for her 48 hour quarantine after arriving from Tennessee a few days prior. When I got there, there was a bit of paperwork confusion which was settled quickly when they realized that I would not be able to adopt her until she had a health certificate. She would not be getting a health certificate until the parasites she was sick with where cleared.


But, she was a sweet love who didn't mind the car ride at all. In fact, she brought me to tears when she reached forward from the back seat and rested her chin on the center console, much like Oliver had done when I first picked him up years ago.

Mom and dad visited that night to meet her, and she greeted them at the door with wiggles and squiggles and a happy tail and little puddles of pee in the excitement and trepidation.

The first night, I put her in her crate and she barked for hours. She's clearly not a fan of the crate, but I wanted to train her to love her little space, and to not be able to wander much until she was housebroken.

The next goal (well, aside from training her to go outside and getting her to be OK with the crate) was to rename her.  It took me over a week to commit to one. I thought of Oliver but felt it was too close to Oliver. Toby, Scout, Moxie, Maggie. But none of them were quite right.  During one of our bajilion visits outside to get her to poop in the yard and not in her crate (she would get so upset when I left for work that she would poop in there), it occurred to me to look up names of actresses from old black and white films. I really wanted to play of her back and white coloring.

Jean Harlow! It's perfect for her, and her long Hollywood eyelashes!

It stuck.

She's already a big girl who can jump out of this pen I bought for her.

Harlow at 4.5 months!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Adoption Day!

Well, not quite adoption day, but pick-up day. Harlow, as it turned out, had two different kinds of parasites and needed to be clean of them before I could officially adopt her.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Are Four Legs Better Than None?

I am considering being unfaithful.

With my dating life a sham, I've been thinking more and more about getting another dog. I was looking around for adoption sites for dogs (I'd exhausted petfinder), and came across a listing for Survivor Tail Animal Rescue (STAR). And Pinky. This little one.

Now when I saw her she immediately caught my eye. Her eyes in particular. Big, brown and human-like. I like her ears and hope she never grows into them. I filled out an application thinking that, as a single person, I would get lost in the pile of families itching to get her.

My application was not lost, and after a few emails, a phone interview, a home visit, another phone interview and a follow-up, it appears I might be getting her in a few weeks, at which point she will be about five months old, I'm told.

I have a lot of apprehension about her. She is a border collie mixed with wire-hair terrier. She will be an active dog. I am not a runner. I am not a cyclist. And before you suggest I become one, I will just tell you that I will not adapt a whole new lifestyle (like running or cycling regularly) for a dog. No matter how cute she is.

I wonder if my "way" will be enough. Walks and visits to a dog park, and freedom in the back yard. That was enough for Oliver. My sweet lovely Oliver.

So I have talked to the agency about a ten day trial before I adopt her. Fostering, if you will. I have to believe that I will know after ten days whether I have a connection with this dog or not. I hope I will know after ten days whether or not she is a sociopath, or at the very least, I accept that I truly have zero patience and am a lazy git.

I am cautious. I am optimistic (which is funny because that's basically how I am about dating and wasn't I trying to get away form that?).

And then there's that other question. How will she ever live up to the wonderfulness that was Oliver?  Will she have fun, weird quirks like him? Oh, I do hope so.

And what I told my Mom was my worry; that I will forget the way Oliver's fur felt. I am in tears as I write this, simply thinking about his fur (Unfortunately, I think about the last time I felt his fur, when he lay warm but gone on the gurney in the vet's office. I hope that will fade, but in the meantime, I should probably work on that and think of another time when I felt his fur and hope that is the memory that will stick instead).

I don't always fall to tears at the thought of him. Mostly it's a smile that comes to my face. I just went to the basement to see what kind of dog stuff remains from him; holiday bandannas, his formal collar and necktie (for our most swanky parties), chew toys, and that's what started the waterworks. Ollie was my first dog. MY first dog. Not a family one. He was mine and I was his. My shadow. My sweet boy. I liked that he was a boy. Different from all our family dogs. I liked that he was not black and white for the same reasons.

And moving on seems unfaithful. Disloyal. The complete opposite of what he was to me for so long.

I hope when I meet her, things will clarify. I was unsure about Oliver when I first got him. Apprehensive. But after about a day, I knew. He wasn't going anywhere.

I hope I feel the same way about this one (within those first ten days) and if I don't, I hope I have the guts to accept that fact and not force it to be something it's not, and give her back without feeling guilty about it. Ten to fifteen years is a long time to wish your second dog was your first dog.

Saturday, July 6, 2013


I won a award.

Here's what the judges said and HERE'S the link to the images.
I'm really proud of what the judges said about my portfolio. Color, light, composition, patterns, all that matters, but to have my work described as "sincere and accessible" and providing "important documentation in the tradition of photography that preserves a sense of time and place, historically one of the most important contributions of photography in general." makes me proud.

Photographer of the Year
33 entries
The panel found this category more difficult to judge than the individual photographs, as many portfolios suffered from inconsistency of quality. The ones that took the prizes stood out in this regard, and in their ability to consistently create powerful images while serving to promote the colleges and universities they depict. As one judge put it, "The winning photographs and collections were distinguished by the simple values of evocation of emotion, time, and place. What the photographers have succeeded in doing in service of their institutions and clients is twofold. To promote a message as well as communicate with the power of authenticity."
Gold Award
Boston University (Mass.) - Photographer: Cydney Scott
The panel agreed that Cydney Scott presented a decisively distinguished body of work. The educational environment presents a special atmosphere of refuge where growth and inquiry are protected and flourish. That atmosphere is present throughout Scott's photographs. The photographer has managed to maintain the integrity of personal vision and sensitivity to the people and environments depicted, presenting a sense of authenticity as well as the inherent power of documentation. There is no sense of contrivance or overt messaging. It is simply sincere and accessible. Scott has recorded the natural interactions between people, at times with a touch of humor. Many years in the future, people will look at Scott's work as important documentation in the tradition of photography that preserves a sense of time and place, historically one of the most important contributions of photography in general.

Saturday, June 29, 2013


When I learn that someone I've known has died, I find myself thinking first of that person, then their family and their loss, the memory I have of being with that person, and then I take in my surroundings. The mundane thing - my computer in front of me, the tiny screwdriver I see next to my keyboard which I'd hoped to use to finally install the damn RAM into my laptop, the ganesh. And as I do things about my house; my bathroom sink, the papers I'm filing through.  I think of these things because they are such everyday things, and I am looking at them, and I feel OK, and that person will never do something like that again. They see nothing.

I have been going through old boxes of paper, paperwork, letters and more during this break from work. I found photos and letters from my high school boyfriend. I found photos and letters form a boy I met at the start of high school, an exchange student who was my first big crush. I have at least 40 letters form him. I narrowed the collection. I didn't even read all the letters when I unpacked them, but I still can't bring myself to throw all of them out. Same goes for the letters from Pete. I suppose it's just the documentarian in me.

Over the many years that have passed since knowing the exchange student, I have tried to find him, maybe every seven years or so, with no luck. I thought I'd try again and pow! There he was on Linked in. I sent him a "connection" and woke this morning to find he'd accepted. So perhaps I will be learning about this old friend soon.

I also came across my college documentary project - a thesis of sorts, about 13 year old girls in the Athens area in Ohio where I went to school. I did a search for them and found two of them on FB, smiling out from the screen, both marries, one with an adorable little baby. I sent each of them messages, so perhaps I will be catching up with them, too.

Then a posting on FB that brings me back to the topic I started with; my mother's college friend posts about her daughter "flying to the angels yesterday" and I realize that my mother's god-daughter, it could seem, has killed herself.

I have a nice memory of jenni. I was in high school and she was a bit older, visiting from MI. We had watched Murder on The Nile and loved mimicking the staffer on the boat who hollered in a this Egyptian accent after finding a cobra on board "Oh, never hev I seen such a reptile in a first cless cebin!".   She and I explored the science museum together. She had a great laugh. And was happy. And now that's all simply gone. And I find that strange.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


On Tuesday I felt like a failure for not photographing BU students in their dorms and apartments glued to their TVs, watching events unfold after the Boston marathon bombings on Patriot's Day. Granted, this was something that would have taken place on Monday when they were in lock-down, and to be kinder to myself, travelling into and around campus would not have been very easy.

But when I woke Saturday morning to find images on the university's website from Friday night's  celebrating, I literally cried a bit. Just a little. It wasn't a lot. I swear.
I felt defeated. And the worst part was I had defeated myself with stupidity by considering going in after Suspect #2 was captured and the lock-down was lifted but second-guessing myself.

I went to the gym hoping that some physical exertion would help my mood. I was on the elliptical about six minutes before I accepted that the gym was not where I needed to be, got off the machine of torture, went home, showered and hauled it into the city to see what's what.  I knew there was a slim chance of much going on. The city would surely be back to normal by now and people would be getting on with things; going shopping on Newbury Street, attending this afternoon's Red Sox game.

I still had to go see. I still had to document for myself, even if it wasn't at the height of the excitement or during the thrill of the victory.

I started in Kenmore Square where the T stop was burping-up droves of people on their way to Fenway for the game. There was a substantial Boston police and military police presence and they all had a real openness and friendliness about them. One of them took one look at my camera gear and told me "That's quite a rig!"  This surprised me; hadn't they been seeing nothing but big rigs all week?  "Did you guys get any sleep at all last night?" I asked them.

"A few hours last night" they moaned.

I heard compliments to the police ringing out from the passing crowd, "Thanks guys!" and "Well done guys!"

It was pretty cool. The sense I got that the police were holding their heads a little higher than typical likely comes from this feeling that people have a new-found respect for them. Today they do not have the reputation so often placed on them by the public. Today, they are heroes who got the job done in a really big way.

On the streets leading to Fenway, vendors were on fire "Get a free 'Believe in Boston' flag when you buy a program!"  they rang out "Programs! Get yah programs hee-ah!"
In the T to head over to Copley, I saw a runner (or at least she was dressed like one) sitting across from me, wearing a marathon jacket and holding a bouquet of of small orange and yellow roses. To my left was a couple in regular clothes, the girl also carrying a bouquet. I saw a lot of this. Wherever I was within the city.

I exited at Hynes and walked with the crowds to the corner of Boylston and Hereford Streets. Up to that location, it was busy city business as usual. As I approached the gated area where many flowers, notes, signs and photos were placed, it got quiet. Like, funeral viewing quiet.

In the middle of the city, in this one spot, you could have heard a pin drop.  I thought for sure as I was on my way in that it would be a bit of a circus; people clamoring to get photos to show off to their friends. That wasn't the case. It was as if we were all on hallowed ground. People did take pictures, but it wasn't in a sensationalistic kind of way. People were there to pay their respects. And they did that.  The woman in the marathon jacket approached with her flowers and laid them down as she quietly wept.

Looking down Boylston Street beyond the barricade was eerie. Something out of an apocalyptic movie. I've never seen Boylston Street so deserted. I'm not sure anyone ever has.

I walked on, taking Newbury Street. It was a typical Saturday on Newbury; lots of people walking around, talking, smiling, eating lunch al fresco. Until you came to another spot where a side street had been barricaded. At the corner of Newbury and Dartmouth, there were military police on hand who kindly accepted praise whenever it was offered. Which was often. From this vantage point, you could see the beautiful Boston Public Library, her flags still at half-mast.  On the other side of the barricade, a select few in marathon jackets were being handed and getting into white bodysuits. The ones we've seen evidence collectors wear on the news.

As I walked on, there were occasional memorials. A seemingly random light pole near a restaurant was covered with flowers. It was near this corner where I saw a woman approch a trio of police and go down the line, shaking each of their hands, "Thank you...Thank you...Thank you." she praised them quietly. Outside one business there was a huge area where people had written down their thoughts with sidewalk chalk. There was a bucket of chalk in the middle of it all for anyone to add to it if they wished. And in this spot too, where there was only chalk drawing, there was silence and reverence.

It was incredible. Every last person wandering the streets and coming across these sights knew what it was about. I don't mean to state the obvious. What I mean is, everyone felt effected by this. No one was out of the loop or outside it's effects.

Taking a right on Berkeley Street, I was lead back to Boylston, which is where the more substantial memorial had grown by the barricades blocking off the other end of the street. There were police and Red Cross volunteers (not sure why. Perhaps to answer questions?), therapy dogs hanging out, and more and more people. The crowd was large, but with the exception of one girl talking loudly on her phone, it was a respectful crowd.

In the outer rim of the crowd, there was friendly talking, people petting dogs and chatting with their owners, but as I made my way to the front of the crowd closest to the memorial, the sound dimmed again. No one was pushing or shoving to view, they would peacefully get out of each others' way when someone was trying to take a photo. With exception to one couple who, judging from their outfits had been in the marathon themselves, I didn't see one person photograph themselves with the scene behind them.  One man
approached and tied a pair of shoes to the barricade. Periodically, another person would approach, crouch down and lay flowers with the others.  People held each other and read all the words on the notes and signs, taking it all in.

I don't know what I thought I might see going into the city that day. Large crowds of gawkers, maybe. I was pleased and impressed to see what I did; People being human. Being kind and friendly, compassionate.

It definitely made me proud to be a Bostonian.

(To see more images, visit here and scroll down)

Dawn Moore and her son Brady Moore, 7, stop  to pay their respects at a make-shift memorial by the barricades blocking off Boylston Street at Hereford Street April 20, 2013. The Moores are from Sturbridge and were in town to see Blue Man Group.  © Cydney Scott

Thursday, April 18, 2013

This Ain't The Palm Beach Post

It's been a tough week professionally for me. The bomber at the Boston marathon is effecting everyone, including BU.

BU is my coverage area. All two miles of it plus the medical campus. It is my Palm Beach County now. It is my city of Auburn now. It is small, but it's mine.

I've been frustrated with my place of employment. Boston is now under the worlds's watch. Well, OK, maybe not the world, but a lot of people are watching what's happening here, keeping up on the status of the victims and the progress of the investigation.

My job now is to report on the goings-on at BU. When the bombing occurred, I recieved an alert from the BUPD, letting everyone know they should stay in their dorm rooms and away from Kenmore Square. Part of me winced at my total lack of interest in going into the city and joining in on the coverage (I had Patriot's Day off from work), but the other part of me knew - very competent shooters are already there. My arrival will not contribute. One thing that didn't occur to me was to go to the campus, my coverage area, to shoot how it's effecting the students.

It should have occured to my journaistically-soggied brain to drive in to get a shot of students in their dorm rooms gathered around their TV watching for updates. I would have been extremely happy with that documentation of events. If only it occured to me. Which it didn't. Because it has been a long time since I've used my journalistic brain truly.

By Tuesday I was more on it, and was shocked when I came into the office and found people discussing it as if we were in a non-news-collecting business. Like we were chatting around the water-cooler. Now granted, basically what we do is marketing and I get that. But still, there was ZERO discussion on this event with regard to how we can cover it's effects on BU.

That's when I realized; I ain't in Florida anymore, Toto. And I missed it like I have never missed it before. There was no cameraderie. There was no gathering together to brain-storm story ideas. There was zero plan of coverage attack. There was no conversation about it at all really.

It was completely heartbreaking to me.

On an online news source, I came across a quick quote from a BU med student who signed-up to host marathoners (although in truth I'm not sure if she actually DID host any) when they had no place to go because their hotel was evacuated. The nation is watching out beautiful city of Boston and the things going on here and a BU student was helping! I quickly emailed nessesary people to let them know of the student so that we might connect with her and do a story.

I got no response.

When it came across facebook that RueLaLa was selling t-shirts honoring Boston and raising money for the recovery efforts, I quickly emailed again. Why? Because RueLaLa was founded by a BU graduate. Again, no real response.

On Tuesday I wandered the campus. I came across these students. I waited for the photo to happen, waited for a student to come in for a hug, positioned myself so I could get the flag at half-mast in the background. I wanted to show how students here were dealing with the bombing and how they were showing support for each other (hanging out all day long and offering hugs to anyone who wants one - it's the little things. It's not huge but it's soemthing they wanted to do). The photo didn't run anywhere, but I'm proud of it, and pissed it wasn't shared. So, I'm sharing it now.

With flags flying at half-mast, Emma Walters (CAS'13), center, of the group I Embrace You shares the love to a passerby April 16, 2013 as fellow-hugger Tehya Saylor (CAS'16), at right, looks on in Marsh Plaza April 16, 2013. "(Yesterday's events) rocked our boat and burst our safety bubble" said Walters, "We're here to spark some positivity and spread some kindness" she spoke of the group, who is typically on Marsh Plaza on Fridays for "Free Hug Friday" but decided last night to come out for the day to share some love.

Later in the day, I was an hour or more early for the evening candlelight vigil which was to happen in the heart of the campus, Marsh Plaza. Yellow tape was set-up in front of one of the campus buildings nearby and before long I recieved another alert (you can sign-up to recieve campus alerts on your phone) a suspicious package was reported and was being investigated by Boston police. It asked that people stay clear of CAS (College of Arts and Sciences). I knew it was nothing, but of course the police need to take any report seriously.

Are the photos that resulted the best pictures in the world? No. But they do show how this event is effecting the BU community.

Some of my images ran here with THIS PIECE.

Then here is the shot that ran from the vigil. I will take this opportunity to say that the caption is misleading which drives me batshit. To look at the image (also below) you would think that Rev. Hill is raising his hands in prayer, yes? Being all holier-than-thou or something. Not so. He's encouraging people to move closer. Which they did. Which I said in the caption. Which was changed.

I also shot this one below. The girl on the right was giving a smile of encouragement to her friend who was very upset during the vigil. I didn't manage to get their names which was a big shame on me, but the TV media was in her face (get off my turf!) and she was really uncomfortable about it, so when I was wandering the crowd trying to get shots of people attempting to light their candles in the gale-force winds, the vigil quickly wrapped up and the two disappeared. I suspected BU Today wouldn't run it because I didn't have their names. I was told they didn't look "upset enough".

I have a major problem with this. Is it a problem because it seems insensetive to want pictures of kids really upset? No. I have a major problem with this because it has been my experience, over and over, that when I shoot an emotional picture, they won's run it. Heaven forbid a parent see a photo of a BU student unhappy.
Here's where I forget - I'm actually working for a marketing organization. Not a news organization.

On Wednesday it was made public that the third victim in the bombings was in fact a BU student. Her name was released and the media descended again on our campus.

I went to Marsh Plaza again as there was to be an "interdenominational healing service" in the early evening for all who felt like attending. I was proud to learn that while I would only be allowed in to take a few shots from the balcony of the chapel at the end of the service, I was the only shooter allowed in at all.

Flowers is honor of Lu Lingzi began to build up at the base of the MKL statue in the center of the plaza and the Chinese Student Association set up a table where other students could write condolences to her parents, and sign a poster for the other BU student who was still recovering in a Boston hospital.

It was a sensetive situation, but I still got a simple shot (again, not terribly interesting) of four Chinese students writing their thoughts down. I also got their names. To my complete confusion, the photo ran without their names on it, making me look like a lame-o who just took a picture and wormed away, failing to identify the students.

None of my images from the interior of the chapel ran, (which is completely understandable because it was poorly attended). Both myself and my boss shot many images from the plaza, students laying flowers down, etc. Melody, my boss, got a beautiful shot of some students leaning into each other. Just lovely.

I woke Thursday to see what they ran. It was an AP photo. A fucking AP photo! And not only that, it was set-up. The image showed a pair of sneakers in the plaza with a bouquet of flowers leaning on them. Tied to the bouquet was a BU wallet. Now when I was there shooting, those shoes and the wallet were no where near each other. My, how interesting that they managed to gravitate towards each other to make such a lovely image for you, Mr. Crappy AP Shooter!

I was so angry that I paced around my house bitching out loud while I got ready for work. It was such an incredible dissapointement to work so hard to document the effects of this event on our community only to have a photo of innatomate objects be used. I photo of innatomate objects that no one fromt he staff even shot.

I went to my boss and she was dissapointed too. I suggested we at least try and get a gallery set-up on the BU Today facebook page, so we can at least share in some capacity, theimages we;ve managed to capture.  Hopefully that will happen.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Boston Marathon

The weather here in Boston is beautiful today. I woke excited that I had the day off from work and that my friends would be coming over to hang out, eat good food and have nice conversation.
Christina left my place in the early afternoon after a day pf brie sandwiches and s'more crescents to run errands and pick-up her kids. Amanda and I went for a walk and when we returned, we learned that there was an explosion at the Boston Marathon finish line.

It didn't really hit me much. I thought, well, must be a weird manhole cover explosion or something, but as the hours have passed, it's clear that is not the case.

Someone built some bombs and planted them where the crowds were. As time passes, more explosive devices are being found and disabled (perhaps they are unexploded because the person who set-off the bombs is now a patient at Beth Israel).

Police are telling people in the crime scene to not to use their phones because it could set off other explosive devices.  To think that something which is used to keep loved ones close and in this case allow you to let those loved ones know you're ok, can actually cause the opposite? So awful. Soon cell service in Boston is shut down completely. The weather was gorgeous and people were so excited to participate in this great tradition in Boston. And now, thanks to some crazy making home-made bombs, this is what we'll remember. It's unreal.

One spectator was interviewed and said that there were many people around him with limbs blown off. I cannot express the irony of this. People becoming legless at the Boston Marathon. 

The President came on the national news, talking about Boston. My Boston. Our Boston. This is huge enough to cause the President to debrief on it with the media. Somehow, it makes it even bigger than your eyes realize when you watch it on TV.

Friday, March 22, 2013


Mom hasn't been feeling well. The other day she was laid up in bed when Bootsie came into the room. Bootsie didn't see Mom in the bed.
Boots walked over to Oliver's bed, placed her paw on it and looked at the bed for a while. Then she turned around and left the room.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


I'm missing Oliver tonight and had a good cry over the sight of his dog bowl still on my kitchen floor. I thought about my last moments with him; what his fur felt like, the weight of his big "porkchop" ears, and I cried.  And it felt good. I hope I don't forget what his fur felt like ever.

A coworker of mine teared up when I told her the news today. I was very matter-of-fact about it, telling her how old he was and that he'd had a great life, and that I was so grateful I could be there with him at the end. "You're being very zen about it" she said, impressed. That's something I have noticed lately about my recent losses; my cousin Susan, my relationship, my dog. For some reason, I'm a bit zen, which is not typical of me, or at least, I didn't think it was typical.

And then I see his bowl and the time is right for a good cry and a session of sadness.

I got a call the other day from Forget Me Not, the company who would cremate Oliver. She explained how it's done, told me the ashes would arrive at Avon Street on Friday. I was very professional, since I was at work, alone in the photo studio having this conversation. She explained that I could have Oliver put in the crematorium next to another dog. They ashes would not mix, but they would be together. Or I could pay more and have him cremated alone. With another dog, I told her. I don't want him to be alone. She ended it with "We'll take good care of him for you" And that was all it took. That little bit of kindness from a stranger sent me into tears.

It's an important thing to remember, how a little sentence can mean something to someone. "We'll take good care of him for you".

Oliver's bowl when it was shiny and new back in 2006.

Soccer Ball

I wanted to share more videos of Oliver but didn't want to bore people on FB. So, I'll post them here. They're easier to ignore that way.

This video is from April 2008. We were still in Florida.
Try not to be too distracted by the sound of the births control pill ad blaring out of the TV in the background.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Peaceful Exit

I did not wake Saturday morning thinking I would lose my dog. My Oliver.

I took Oliver in about two weeks ago because he was getting skinnier and wasn't eating much. Blood work showed some kind of infection, the vet said on my voicemail a few days later, and that there had been "some changes in his bloodwork". I knew this to mean some kind of organ failure because he'd showed signs of it, ever so slightly, during the visit prior.
We tried to get him to take his meds; antibiotics, a liquid anti-inflammatory for his arthritis, and the heart meds he's been taking over over a year now. It wasn't long before he simply stopped eating. Every few days, Mom and Dad could get a meal into him after some major song and dance which included an intermission, but basically he was really only drinking water.

Yesterday, Mom told me that the night before, they brought Oliver to his water dish after a trip outside. He simply stood over it on his weak pegs, doing nothing. Bootsie stood in front of him watching, and after a moment, she put her nose to his head and gently pushed it down into the bowl. He drank.

Friday morning, after at least six days of no eating, I called the vet. I did so because while I knew Oliver was at the end of his fifteen year life and choosing not to eat because of it, I was concerned. He seems very comfortable aside from being very weak. He drinks water, snuggles on my lap when I visit him every night at my parents' house where he now lived, takes a morsel of food from time to time, sleeps through the night. He shows no sign of discomfort aside from being weak. Although I like the idea of him dying at home surrounded by loved ones and an environment he's comfortable in, I can't be sure it's the best thing. She let me know that if he seemed comfortable, wasn't vomiting or having accidents in the house, there was no reason to not keep him at home where he's content.

When I was visiting with Oliver, I could agree, but when I wasn't with him, I wasn't so sure. By Saturday, I'd gone further into my thinking and I went over to Avon Street to discuss with my parents. My issue was that although he was showing no signs of being in distress now (and even the research I'd done ensured that when they stop eating, they do so because their organs are shutting down and as such, they are not hungry, so I didn't have to worry about the pain of hunger), we simply couldn't be guaranteed a peaceful death for our furry little loved one.

Did I want to risk him gasping for air and maybe even seizuring at the end of his life just so he's at home and simply because he shows no signs of pain right now?  No.  And in truth, once he stopped eating, I simply didn't think he would make it this long. So, really at this point, it was a quality of life issue as well.

It was decided, and I made a very collected, business-like call to the vet's office. We headed there, sad and quiet, and he sat in my lap, snuggled in the whole way, the sun coming down on him through the windshield.  When we arrived we were put in a secluded room and given time with him. He sat on my lap with Mom and Dad on either side of me.

Oliver hasn't been as much of a face-licker over the past few months, but on this day, he much have licked me at least six times. Dogs might not know what the next step is, but they might know you are attempting to help them feel better. One thing I do know is that my Oliver has always trusted me and he knew he could this time too. He purred in my lap and I stroked him and told him what a good boy he was.

I was teary, but I wanted to try and keep it together, 'cause once you let it out there's no holding it back. I also didn't want him to pick up on any of my distress, so I just tried to act normal. Occasionally, he would turn his head around to see if Dad was still next to me (he could see Mom from where he was...well, as much as a nearly blind dog can see anything). And he could "see" that everything was OK.

It did feel confusing. His entire life, I would tell people at various stages how old he was, and no one could believe it. He simply didn't look old and today was no different. The fact that he lifted his head from time to time while in my arms made me feel deceived too. Shouldn't an old, dying dog be unable to really lift his head? Apparently not. 

They took him away on a gurney to put and IV in and I did paperwork while he was gone; yes, I want his ashes back, no I do not need a paw print. Paperwork done, we were moved to a different room and I began to get anxious to get my boy back. As much as I knew I was letting him go, I wanted him around me until then. And most importantly, I wanted to comfort him. He was nervous as he was rolled back in on the gurney, attempting to stand despite his excessive weakness. I went straight to him and took him into my arms, sitting down so I could get him in the most comfortable, cocooned position. Nice and cozy.

Once we were settled in and comfortable, I let the vet know we were ready and as she put a sedative in, his little pink tongue poked out the front of his mouth ever so slightly, "What a good boy you are" I whispered into his fur as I'd done a million times before.  She gave him the anesthetic to stop his heart and there he lay in my arms, relaxed as can be, as if he was fast asleep.

The vet stood and put the stethoscope to his fluffy belly. That wonderful, white, clean, fluffy belly, and quietly, respectfully said something I hadn't anticipated hearing from anyone, "He's gone."

I placed him back on the gurney and was given some time alone with him. I ran my hand through that wonderful coat. I repositioned his legs a bit so he was a little more tucked, just like he likes it. I looked into his cloudy eye. I would swear he was just sleeping with his eyes open. He was still warm. He simply felt the same as he always had. I whispered to him how wonderful he was, how lucky I was to have him come into my life.

As I cried into his fur, I felt content. I knew I would miss him desperately, but I was so grateful I could help him go in this way. It was so completely peaceful. I held him as I had a hundred times before, and he fell asleep. And that was that. He didn't move. He didn't make a noise. There was no protest. There was no pain. There was just calm. And as cheesy as is sounds, love. There was a lot of love there, too.

April 2009