Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Fun AND Frustrating

Mike and I were both a bit gloomy yesterday, so in an effort to lift our spirits, we took a map Christopher and Jodi gave us and drove around Somerville for the Illuminations Tour 2015.

The map sucked and was barely readable and I could never get my bearings using it. Trying to figure it out with my phone GPS didn't help much either. The entire tour takes place all over the city, not in one neighborhood, so there's a line on the provided map giving suggested routes to the various houses, with a few homes labelled with a light bulb which, according to the legend meant it was "Over the Top Fabulous!".  Which they were.  Tacky-tastic in the best way.

We kept getting lost though and that combined with my kindergarten-level of patience, I was frustrated and said so.

"It's not frustrating, this is fun!" Mike responded optimistically.

"No it isn't, it's frustrating"

"...It's Frunstrating"

I will take that compromise.









Monday, December 21, 2015

Friday, December 18, 2015

They're Snuggling...Amost

Last night Mike and I were watching some Sherlock and trying our best to ignore the constant growl, squeak, nail tap and paw clomp coming from the two four-legged best friends while they chased each other and played tug-a-war with every object they could find that would work and some that wouldn't.

For my sanity and for the neighbors downstairs, I finally decided it was quiet time.

"Harlow, lie down" I instructed her. She then wandered away and came back and looked at me like, did you still want me to lie down like you did seven seconds ago? Yes. Then she layed down, letting out an exasperated huff upon hitting the floor. Then Tico would come near her and she's paw at him and get up and the chaos would start again and the "Harlow, lie down!" would happen again, as would the Are you sure?

In truth she's getting much better at listening to commands. She is like a procrastinating teen though - insisting she'll get around to lying down when she's finished doing that other important thing she needs to to - as soon as she can remember what that other important thing was.

In a moment of serendipity, both dogs were near the blanket and when we commanded them to lay down, they did. Together.

Mike and I reacted like we were seeing a human who'd never walked before walk and oh my god don't distract them just get a camera quick oh my god how cuuuuute!

Mike has been dreaming of the day these two snuggle for quite a while, even trying to facilitate the moment by attempting to place Tico next to Harlow while she was on her bed at my place once. They didn't care for that.

But this? This was real, though fleeting.




Tree Decorating Time!




Thursday, December 17, 2015

Goofy Boobs

I had a dream the other night that I had multiple tattoos - one of Joy from Inside Out on my rib cage and, between my boobs? Goofy. Yes, you read that right - Goofy. After telling him about the dream and how relieved I was when I woke sans tattoos, I said to Mike via text "I had goofy boobs!" and his response was "your boobs were fine.... just had something goofy between them"



Monday, December 14, 2015

Lives Less Valuable

Do you think the loss of a childless person over the age of, say 50, is less of a loss than a parent of the same age?

Or maybe what I'm wondering is if a childless person's life is worth the same as a parent. I've been thinking about that lately, not having kids myself, and about the concept of worthiness.

It's strange because I think of people in my life, women specifically, who do not have children, and I see them as living full and interesting lives. Their worth, in my eyes, is just as great as my friends who are parents. Obviously, a death of a parent is more tragic because they have children who now mourn their absence, but that's not what I'm talking about really. The loss aside, was the parent (for lack of better term), a better or more valuable person, than the non-parent? Did they contribute to society more by raising another person?

So why do I question this in myself? Why do I wonder if my life will seem purposeless if I get to the end of it and have no human to show for it?  Maybe because I always thought I put a lot into my creative endeavors, but don't push so hard as to be obsessed with recognition and award-winning, because I thought I would put my greatest work into being a parent.

Now I don't think I will be a parent, and I have no interest becoming obsessed with my career or other creative undertakings, and making it my "baby".  So what does that make me? I'm not a parent, I'm not a philanthropist, volunteer, athlete, award winning PJ.  Just a person I guess. At the moment I don't mind that.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Heavy Heart

It's creeping up on me. On all of us. The anniversary of this.
The night before (as in tonight) is always saddest for me because it's the last time I saw her face.

I found this gem while looking through photos for John's memorial a few weeks ago. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Greyson and Grateful

I knew that when a new mom got in touch with me for a session and signed her inquiry with "In Peace, Ellen", these were not going to be typical clients.

And they weren't. They gave me a session that was a gift. They were easy-going and had light in their home to die for in addition to awesome interiors. Sometimes my job is really hard. I enter a home not knowing what I will get, personality and lighting-wise. I work on the photos afterwards and hand them over to the client not knowing what the response will be. Are they going to hate they way they look? Are they going to gush?

It's the challenge with my job every time - making my clients comfortable when I'm with them, and happy with the end product after I'm gone.  For the most part I do well in this regard, but every once in a while (and I've had some doozies lately) there are challenges.

Ellen, Kyle, and their very serious little boy Greyson reminded me why I do this so much on my off hours.

Wanna see the whole shoot?
Go here, sign in and use the password "roslindale".

If the gallery is expired by the time you read this, check out a selection on my blog.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Bridge of Help

Mike and I went to see Bridge of Spies Saturday night (long but really good).

We were leaving Assembly Row movie theater heading to the escalators when a little girl, maybe six years old, wiped out at the top while her (likely) grandmother continued down with a another little girl who was about three (she seemed pretty un-phased that one kid was left behind, come to think of it)

We helped the little girl up and asked her if she was OK. "I'm scared" she whimpered about the escalator. "Would you like some help?" I asked her. She nodded and took my hand.  I counted to three and we stepped onto the moving stairs together, Mike right behind us.

In her other hand, she clutched a cute little brown-skinned babydoll. "I like your baby," I told her to distract her a bit, "What's her name?" I asked the top of her head, covered in colorful barrettes and a headband too. "Natalie" she answered.

I admired the pretty name, and counted down to step off the stairs together at the bottom. On unmoving ground she looked up and gave me  sweet "thank you!" and went to catch up with her grandmother.

It gave me a nice feeling, just interacting with such a sweet little person.

Moments later, when a woman and I bumped into each other on the street and she dropped her phone and her leftovers, a woman with her asked "What happened?"

"That lady just bumped into me!" she said in a very I've Been Treated Unjustly! tone.

I turned, surprised. Clearly neither of us where watching where we were going. I felt a slight bump against my purse but nothing so big that even required the customary "Oh, 'scuse me!" when you bump someone. Still, I turned and said "Oh, I'm sorry!"

She turned and burned holes in me with her stink-eye.

Nice feeling gone.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Field Hockey


The first to paragraphs of the BU Today field hockey story are my favorite. I wrote them. ; )

It isn’t every varsity team that prepares for a big game with guided meditation. “Breathe in. I know I am breathing in. Breathe out. I know I am breathing out,” field hockey assistant coach Tracey Paul tells the field hockey team in a calm and reassuring tone. She encourages the athletes, urging them to visualize entering the field, teammates by their side, executing various plays they’ve gone over in practice.

It’s a stark contrast to the scene in the locker room shortly after. Music blares as players dance to shake out pregame jitters. Just before heading out to the field, cocaptain Sofi Laurito (COM’16) leads a call and response chant as the players huddle in a tight circle, arms around each other.


My story is up!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

There's Always Someone Better

I feel jealous and kind of pissed this morning.

I have been playing the role of assignment editor for the past month, setting up shoots, assigning them to either myself, out temp shooter depending on his schedule, one of our freelancers (who I took the initiative to find and add to our roster - I got so sick of the commercial photographers coming back from our shoots with no cutline info), and managing our kick ass part time student shooter, who I found when I decided I was over getting all the fucking CloseUps all the time and never got to work on anything that interested me.

Sadly, I am one of those Needs Recognition Children. Or, people, I guess. I want someone to notice the changes I've made and say "That's awesome! Your department is cookin with gas thanks to you!"

In the late summer months and early fall, Jackie traveled around doing a project called Rites of Passage.  While she was doing this, I was doing everything else (not all the time of course - Jackie was around and shooting daily stuff when she could), with none of the assistance mentioned above. It was thankless. I don't appreciate thankless.

It's really important to me to be one of those women who encourages other women, let's them know when I think they've done something cool. I compliment Jackie's work, because it's totally great, on a regular basis. The compliments are not really returned. When Rites of Passage was a success, I congratulated her (genuinely!), and any compliments mentioned when she wasn't around were conveyed to her from me too. I think this is important.

I also think not whining is important but this is not one of those blog entries.

This is a whiny blog entry.

I have been working hard for weeks on a project about the BU women's field hockey team. It comes out tomorrow and I am concerned about how I will react if no one says a goddamn thing about it to me. That's the trouble with my "art". With this field. Nobody does it because they just have joy in doing it. They do it also because they want others to like it. We want our work to be appreciated and enjoyed. If no one enjoys it, were the pictures ever taken? Was the work ever even done?


Monday, November 16, 2015

Good Deed

It happened while I was standing in line for my 7AM flight on Sunday. Also waiting to board was a young mother. On her front she held a rather large toddler no older than two, and on her back was a giant backpack (the mom's back, not the kids). I wondered why she didn't let her child simply stand next to her but what to I know? Maybe the kid's a runner. In addition, Young Mom was holding a blankie and when she dropped the plastic bag she was also holding, a man nearby reached down and handed it back to her.

When I was packing for this trip I had very limited space. I had a camera gear roller bag filled with mostly gear and some clothes crammed in there, and my backpack held my laptop, toiletries, and all my diabetes crap, plus chargers, power cords, dramamine, etc. As I was finishing packing though I thought, hm, I think I'll bring my foldable nylon shopping bag. I don't think I'll use it because after all, you can only have two carryons, but, what the hell?! Maybe I'll have some weird need for it.

Enter the weird need.

I tapped at the mom's shoulder and asked her "Did your plastic bag break?" I asked this because I noticed the bag had indeed broken. So really the question was dumb.
"Yes" she sighed.
"Here, let me give you this" I unwrapped my handy little shopping bag and took the plastic from her.
"Really? Oh that's so nice of you!"
"I know!" I DIDN'T say back, but rather "It's no problem!"
"Say 'thanks' to the lady for helping us" she said to her daughter, who then gave me a cheery thank you and I responded with a "you're welcome" and "I like your rainbow socks!"

The young mom proceeded to put the blankie in there too and I heard her whisper "Oh, that's so much better" as she hooked it over her shoulder.

And I was happy I packed that extra thing I didn't think I'd need.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Hockey Sticks and Yankee Candles

I am currently typing in the Charlotte Airport. Barry Manilow is singing from the speaker above me in Starbucks. Something about peace and kids and Christmas. I don't know. I'm not a Manilow fan.

I'm headed home a bit earlier than expected from a shoot at UNC. For a few weeks now I have been following the women's field hockey team. Last weekend they earned the title of Patriot League Champs, and as a result, they were sent this weekend to compete against UNC in the NCAA quarter finals.

When I first mentioned the team would be traveling, my editor said "Oh we'll send a freelancer"
To which I responded, deadpan "Uh, no we won't" and added that the videographers get to travel for their stories all the time.
"Well not all the time" he retorted.
I disagreed. And then I was sent to UNC, but not without feeling guilty about it.

I'm sure UNC is a lovely place. I arrived Friday afternoon to Raleigh-Durham after a long day of travel and checked in to a La Quinta hotel. The hotel where the team was staying was out of rooms, and since I was worried about cost, La Quinta it was. It was fine. Clean, whatever.

I asked the front desk where I could go for a bite, and when I told him I didn't have a car he told me I could order delivery from a pizza joint. Delightful.

The game the next day was challenging, both to shoot and to play. The terriers were defeated 4-2 and the seniors were crushed. More so that their season was over than anything else, I think. Did I get a great shot of them crushed? Not really. The light was horrific. The sun was high and bright as ever.

My best shot was of the team captain sulking in the bus on the way back. Was it worth the $700 (to get to UNC?) probably not, but a freelancer wouldn't have gotten it, that's for sure.

Sofi and Hester, post-game ride.
Now my challenge was the fact that it was now Saturday afternoon and my flight didn't leave til Sunday night at 6. The team was being flown out Saturday night. NCAA apparently foots the bill, and buys only one way tickets until the game splay out. I thought, well, I could go to the airport and try to fly standby. And possibly get stuck at the airport all day long? I couldn't fly out Saturday night because I hadn't checked out of my room at noon so it was paid for through the night anyway.

Curiosity, fear of boredom and another shitty delivery salad nagging at me I did a search for morning flights and decided that paying $145 out of my own pocket to leave first thing in the morning was a far better option to taking cabs here and there all day long tomorrow to try and make something of my day while waiting to catch my late flight.

With that out of the way and images filed for the athletic department, I took a cab to a mall to look around and get a bite. NC is interesting. People are not surprisingly friendlier there than they are in Boston, and they look you in the eye. Like, a lot. Like, I thought maybe I was gorgeous!  But, no, definitely not (did I mentioned I have been wearing the same clothes for three days because my carry on needed to be camera gear. I did manage a second shirt and change of underwear (gotta pad the lenses with something!).

And my mall visit was productive. I bought an oven thermometer which I've been in need of since, oh, say 2011, some moisturizer I've been wanting to get, a nice seared tuna salad for dinner, and participated in the following activity which I posted on FB...


I decided to wander through a Yankee candle store and find the dumbest names of candles. Don't get me wrong, I love a good stinky candle as much as the next American, but this was a fun activity.
Smells like frost bite and disappointment because Santa doesn't actually live there because...kids, hide your eyes..HE's NOT REAL!
Now, this one I'm grateful for because fake roses smell just awful. #whatswrongwithcallingitjustplainrose?
I got nothin'

I'm gonna save a wicked lot of money and just do my laundry and jam my face in it when it comes out of the dryer. Saved money AND have clean clothes! Who's the winner now!?

I wanna know how different this candle and the "Beach Walk" candle could possibly be from each other. I'm thinking they're the same and the candlestick maker's got a case of the lazies.

*see "Beach Candle" caption


It's smells like rosin and the contents of a spit valve.#onlyorchestralgeeksunderstand

It's smells sweaty and itchy, and it's annoying cause you can't use your phone while you're using it.
The only way this could be better is if it were called "wonderful tonight" and had a prom picture from the early 1990s on it
I woke this morning at 3:30. Not because I needed to - I packed last night - but because I just did. And once I was awake I was wracked with worry about my photo story. Will it be good enough? Would it get enough exposure to warrant future stories? Jackie did a story a while back and it was received really well, and so now I feel pressure. And our stories were very different - she followed incoming freshman from home to campus to record their experience. One of the students has a chronic condition and the readers really responded to that. So, I'm worried. Really worried.

When I started this project, I felt like I could breath again. Really! Years and years of taking nice pictures, but falling far from my story-telling-loving roots of photojournalism. The students at BU are tough sometimes. They will often not bother getting back to you when you try to connect with them for a story. These athletes? I was in contact with four of them and without fail, I would hear back from them within 15 minutes. It was amazing and very appreciated.

I'd shot a practice or two before I spent time in their locker room when they were psyching themselves up for a game against Harvard. I thought I would cry. I think I might have even a little bit. Everywhere I turned there was a moment happening; music blaring and dancing all around, one player sitting quietly to herself looking at her phone, other players helping each other to get their hair game-ready, two players studying together while they had a moment to do it, signs, notes, personalized lockers everywhere. It was a total joy and got me really fired up about the project. Oh, and did I mention that prior to that there was a team meeting during which they meditated? They did (not sure the picture translates since they are all sitting at desks but one can hope).

Now that their final game, ending their season, was a losing game, I'm nervous about how we actually finish the story. The powers that be won't accept a story ending on a sad note. It's tricky.


Monday, November 2, 2015

People I Love

I've been thinking a lot tonight about the people I love. I've been assigned to make the slideshow for John's Celebration of Life service, happening on Saturday, and I've been going through lots of photos - most of which are not mine - and thinking about his life. And my life, and the people who are in it. The people I am so grateful to have in my life. The people I have lost who I miss and will continue to miss, but am so glad to have had the time I had, even if it wasn't enough.

Susan and I in the cape. I love this little gem from....2005 maybe?


Ten years ago, I made this slideshow. Looking at it now, the pictures are lacking, it's too long, and so on, but John loved it, I do remember that, because I gave him a copy and he told me he watched it a ton of time. I tried to read it again tonight and it wouldn't work, but when I uploaded to vimeo, tada!

Labor Day weekend 2005 from C.M. Scott on Vimeo.

Friday, October 30, 2015

John

Maureen sent us all this link the other day
http://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?414748-RIP-John-Wall


I would rather learn more about John from the man himself, but it's nice to learn more about him anyway, and it's not surprising to read what people thought of him. I especially love reading John's words, reposted by a forum member.
"When confronted with a situations like this (There are rare but they happen!) I have learned the hard way that the investment can tie up resources that could be used for other unforseen opportunities. And after all, almost all buys are unforeseen "pop-ops". The other question I've learned to ask myself is: "If I needed cash real quick, could I sell it/these for this same amount quickly?" If no, it is not worthwhile having multiple copies of the gun, so I pass. 
I discovered long ago that it helps all around (for buyers and sellers) if I pass the opportunity of purchasing the extra rifles onto other collector-friends. In doing so, we derive the benefits goodwill and friendship that come from thoughtfulness like this, and of course, we firm up our own network of contacts. I've found that its also a chance to payback favors done for me. You just never know how friendships based on this kind of consideration will help you...and your collecting oppportunities...in the future, but they do. Enough of the soapbox! 
Have a great day!
Regards,
John"

I also really like what this person wrote about him...
Sadly, I knew John Wall only from his prolific contributions within Gunboards. From his knowledgeable and point-on commentary, early on to realize that he was indeed a mauser ‘expert’s expert’. Yet one matter to be such as an expert. Quite another to be an expert linked with willingness and commitment to share freely of such knowledge base in a community setting. There, giving of his time and efforts to assist both novices and advanced collectors alike. All simply in the spirit of furthering a body of historic information and enhancing the camaraderie of like interests. In this he was outstanding and left a truly high mark! 

Only from his obituary to learn of his wider interests in ‘community’, both local and international. Now to appreciate his contributions in greater context. An Internet link below to this greater perspective. Such offered that others of us who didn’t have the privilege of knowing him well, might better appreciate a truly good man. 

Somewhere above in these ‘In Memoriam’ posts, the suggestion that John’s various forum commentary be accumulated and offered perhaps as a “Sticky” or like presentation. If practicable, I believe it would be particularly fitting and especially useful if sub-topically organized. Yet not to be characterized in the context of memorial. Rather as a competent resource and living body of knowledge yet to offer information and counsel to all. Here the presumption also, that he might well approve of such in the context of ‘continuing education’. And in that perhaps a most fitting resulting memorial in continuing to ‘share of himself'.

Goodbye Mr. John Wall. A belated personal “Thanks” and a prayer for you at Sunday Mass.
Iskra / John Oceanside, Ca.


John's Obituary;
John Joseph Wall, Jr. died in his home in Wakefield surrounded by his family on October 26, 2015, due to complications from brain cancer. He was 73 years old.
Mr. Wall was born on April 12, 1942 in Oak Park, Illinois. He graduated from St. Procopius High School in 1960 and went on to receive a Bachelor's Degree in History from Loyola University in Chicago.
In 1965, Mr. Wall entered the Peace Corps and began a 3 year assignment in Maimana, Afghanistan. It was in Afghanistan that he met and married fellow volunteer, Ada (Creech) Wall. Upon returning to the United States after completing his volunteer work with the Peace Corps, Mr. Wall received his Master's in Education from New York University in 1970 and then took a teaching position in Shiraz, Iran, where he taught for two years.
He returned to the U. S. in 1973 and worked as an ESL teacher in the Chicago public school system. In 1974 Mr. Wall accepted a position with Raytheon Service Company and moved his family to Tehran, Iran, where they remained until 1978, when they were relocated to El Paso, Texas. In 1980 he was again transferred by Raytheon to the Boston area, and chose to settle his family in Wakefield.
Mr. Wall worked for Raytheon for over 35 years, until he retired in 2013.
An avid lover of history, Mr. Wall quickly found Wakefield to be a town that fed his passion for knowledge of the past. He was an active member of the Wakefield Historical Society for over 20 years.
He also enjoyed contributing to his community and was a member of the Wakefield Center Neighborhood Association for over 25 years.
He had numerous collections of various historic artifacts and was expertly knowledgeable about most of them. Many thought of him as a brilliant man, for he knew so much about so many things, but for him it was simply a love of the history.
Aside from his intelligence, Mr. Wall was known by many for his wonderful sense of humor. He loved to laugh.
Mr. Wall is survived by his loving wife of 48 years, Ada; daughter and son-in-law Jennifer and Patrick Brennan of Peabody; daughter and son-in-law Maureen Wall and Jonathan Crumrine of Natick; four grandchildren; his sister Patricia Wall of San Rafael, California and his brother and sister-in-law, James and Jeanne Wall of Plymouth, Indiana.
A memorial service will be held to celebrate the life of Mr. Wall on Saturday, November 7 at 10:30 a.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 326 Main Street, Wakefield. In lieu of flowers, Mr. Wall's family would like to suggest a donation to the Wakefield Center Neighborhood Association: P.O. Box 485, Wakefield, MA 01880 or the VNA of Middlesex-East – Home Hospice: Development Office, VNA of Middlesex-East, 607 North Ave., Ste. 17, Wakefield, MA 01880.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

My One And Only Dear John Letter

When I was four years old, John and Ada moved next door with their daughter Maureen and Jen. As Maureen, who is two years older than me, tells it, she and I were the first to meet over the fence which separated our homes which share a backyard. Evidently, I sparked up a conversation with her about McDonalds and Burger King. Burger King had better burgers and McDonald's had better fries. I don't know how a four year old would know such things or have enough time in her young life to do the research necessary to make the claim.

Regardless of how we connected, our two families, neither of which had family nearby, became a family. Maureen and I played together. Sometimes all four of us played together. We celebrated holidays together, Christmas dinners and Easter brunches, Thanksgiving meals and every day cook-outs. 

I remember watching John crank the massive handle on the wood ice cream maker. I remember there being a need for salt to be added to the ice. I remember I didn't much like blueberry ice cream (I still don't), but I ate some anyway because ice cream's better when it's homemade, no matter the flavor.

Christopher, Jen, Maureen and I put on performances, too. Most notably was our circus; Christopher was the comic part of the show, dressed like a lady, wearing Jen's training bra over his patriotic t-shirt, and a pair of nylons on his head. Maureen was the acrobat, whirling around the lawn, cartwheeling in a blue leotard. Jen was a ring master, I was a strong man, lifting up over my head in triumph, a barbell made with a stick and one balloon on either end. Except right before I was to come out for my part of the show, one balloon popped. We improvised, as good circus performers do, and stuck the stick into the soft summer earth so I could lift it our like Excalibur's sword from the rock to applause from our small audience of adults.  The finale will go down in the Scott Wall book as one of the most memorable vignettes. All the kids went inside and when we emerged, I was holding a hula hoop and the others were on all fours. Lions! And I the lion tamer. The name of this act? The Ferocious Mildreds! 

I have no memory of this and I tell it from stories which came from others. The story goes that the parents basically lost it completely. Tears rolling down their face at the innocent, possibly unintentional stab we had made. Have I mentioned on this blog before that my very difficult, relatively unpleasant, late-maternal grandmother was named Mildred?  Therine lies the hilarity of the circus act.

We spent a lot of time together. We two families. I had countless dinners at their house and when I got older, John drove Maureen and I to school every morning when our high school careers coincided. Whenever one family went to the others for a meal, party, or celebration, we were always smiling to see each other. There was a long-standing joke that our families could never get through a meal without potty humor coming in to play. John was said to be the source of such humor. He and I bonded over our love of the movie Parenthood. Most notably for the scene when one of the kids sings and entire song about diarrhea. It was not uncommon when I was a kid, for John and I to bust out the diarrhea song for kicks and giggles. We thought it was funny, anyway.  When I would go to the Walls for a visit while living away for so many years, they always seemed happy to see me; all hugs and smiles and "tell us the latest!". 

When my own dad had his heart attacks so many years ago, I thought, who would walk me down the isle if I ever got married and Dad wasn't here? John would, is what I thought. 

Why am I telling these stories about the past? I do that sometimes, but this time, I'm just stalling. Stalling about talking about today, because today, we are one less.

Less than a month ago, John went to the hospital with stroke-like symptoms. It wasn't long before they realized he had a massive brain tumor. Geo sarcoma, I believe. In extremely aggressive cancer. The majority of the tumor was removed, but the surgery left him, now 73, extremely weak, mostly blind, and with partially paralyzed vocal cords. He developed a severe case of thrush as he attempted to recover at a rehab center. 

It is the cruelest of things; he loved to laugh and tell jokes, and was barely able to speak. He loved food and was unable to eat because of the pain on his tongue and throat. He loved to learn and research and could no longer see the pages if they were placed in front of him. 

It was nasty. It was unfair. It was shocking, sudden, and fast.

It wasn't a week before it became clear that John would not recover. He was brought home for hospice care on Friday.  On Sunday I went to visit him. Also there were Jen, Lilly, 15, Patrick, Ada, and an attending nurse. We all joined John in the front room where he lay in his hospital bed as the nurse fed him some soup. John was out of it, but knew we were there. He struggled with the carrots in the soup and Jen rushed off to puree it some more. 

Eventually, Patrick said "Grampy, we're gonna head back over to my parents' place where Owen's watching the Pat's Game".  John's eyes shot open at the sound of football "What happened!" he whispered loudly, curious about the status of the game, and we all laughed. Lilly and I looked at each other and there was an unspoken feeling of relief that we saw a smidgen of John. A bit of himself rising out of that limp body on the bed before us. There was a break in the uncomfortable tension and feeling of helplessness and Lilly and I appreciated it together, without words.  

Jen and I stayed with John for a bit. I figured out how to get the football game on the TV for him. After doing so, as Jen gave him a Popsicle, I said to John "I'm sorry, John, I know nothing about football so I can't explain what's going on. There's just a bunch of big guys in tight pants. That's all I know"

He laughed. I was glad he laughed. I have that. As I said goodbye, I gave him a staccato of kisses on the cheek and told him I loved him. He said it back to me. 

I didn't get to say goodbye, or tell him how much I loved knowing him, how grateful I am that he moved in next door along with Ada, Jennifer and Maureen so long ago, how happy I am to have so many memories of his incredible humor, intelligence, and kindness, but I do have the kiss and the "I love you" and that's not too bad.

He died Monday night.

Tuesday morning I went over to the Walls house before my late shift started. Mom and Dad were there and I added a collection of muffins to the breakfast they were already eating. Jen and Maureen were working on what the next steps were. Helping them get an obituary photo ready. We were basically just being together. Keeping each other company. That evening, there would be a lot of food, Jen told me, and I should join them if I could. As I left to go to work, I said goodbye to Lilly who was in the kitchen leaning over a bowl of Ramen and she gave me a distracted but clear "Bye I love you!"

I headed to work and knew I just didn't care what assignment needed to be shot that night. I wanted to be with my family. So I got out of it, and that's what I did. We ate, we chatted, we raised a glass to Grampy, "If Dad were here" Maureen said as we sat down to eat  "he would say 'MM MM MM MM MM!"











Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Three-ways

Wandering Home Depot yesterday talking with my Dad on the phone, I complained "I don't understand why it's so hard to find a lightbulb that has those three different levels to them"

"Oh, you mean the three-way?" he says.
"Yes" and then after a pause, I hear my dad laughing and then telling me "You mother just said to me 'You're talking about three-ways with your daughter?!'"

He reassured her we were discussing lightbulbs. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

CaringBridge

You know you're getting old and life's getting real (by ending) when you are invited to another Caring Bridge page and when you sign in there are two previous Caring Bridge pages for two other people in your life who are now gone.

Not really something I like collecting, Caring Bridge pages.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Harlow and Tico Sittin in a Tree

Harlow has a new little gentleman friend. This is Tico and he is Mike's sweet little pup.

Puppy shenanigans from C.M. Scott on Vimeo.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Magic Lessons

Other thoughts I appreciated;

"What are you willing to give up in order to get what you want?"

and

"It's important to keep your shadow in front of you."

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Podcasts and Creativity

I have an old school nano which I spent some time last night loading music onto so I could play it while I wasn't home for Harlow. I've been playing the same Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me episodes for months. That's gotta get old whether you can speak human or not.

I found some classical music podcast but I also found some new podcasts for myself. On hosted by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, called Magic Lessons. It's a podcast about creativity, how to keep connected to it day to day and how to get back into it when it's fallen from you. I was intrigued obviously.

The first episode was a woman who writes a blog and sort of stopped writing, was struggling with her role of mom, writer, etc and dealing with the guilt of wanting to write while being a parent.

Gilbert read a quote from a woman which was so very interesting to me. "It's the most important thing in my life - making things. Much as I love my husband and my children, I love them only because I am a person who makes things. Who I am is the person who has the project of making a thing. And because that person does that all the time, that person is able to love all the other people"

Sort of a mind-blowing thought, and of course it made me think of my Mom who is in a constant state of creating.

Gilbert said "Martyrs make martyrs and creative people make creative people" and the blogger calling in for advice talked about how creative her kids were. Stuck in traffic on 93 listening to this podcast, I suddenly glimpsed my parallel life and it made me a bit emotional.  In my parallel life, I have a four year old and a seven year old in miss-matched socks because I let them dress themselves. They wear shirts that say things like "Lettuce turnip the beet" and they are endlessly creative.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Which Am I?

It's weird, this feeling that I have morphed. I don't know if it was conscious or not, but I feel it.

I was someone who wanted to be a mom and knew I'd be good at it.
Then I was someone who couldn't find someone to help me make that happen.
Then I was someone it didn't matter for anymore because I can't have kids anyway.
And now I feel like someone who would be a crappy mom anyway so I feel it's for the best afterall.

I don't know where that comes from. I suspect it's life circumstance.

I look around me at those in my life who have small children and frankly, it doesn't seem like they're having all that much fun.

I think about other women, out in the world or even right near me, who don't have kids and I think to myself, they must not have wanted them.

But that's what we tell ourselves because we don't like the alternative; that she really really wanted them, but it just didn't happen for whatever reason and now she's so bitter about it she even convinced herself that babies and kids are exhausting and sticky and loud anyway and who wants that?

If someone I loved romantically said to me "Hey, you'll be a great Mom! I want to be a parent with you. Let's do it!" I have absolutely no clue how I would respond to that. Would I come around to the idea and start researching adoption agencies? Or would I balk at it, reminding him that I have zero patience and I appreciate a less complicated life. That I'm too old and tired anyway and frankly wouldn't want the inconvenience. And since it wouldn't be a kid that was ours biologically, who knows who we'd get?

But at the same time, maybe it wouldn't be so bad having my world flipped on it's head.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Mischief and Gallbladders

It's been a long long time, it seems. Lots has happened but in this entry I will talk about Harlow and the ridiculous beast she's become since she became a puppy of Leisure since being put under the care of her doting grandparents.

When I was to have my gallbladder removed, I knew that having my rambunctious girl nearby would be a problem. What? You have four stitches in various location on your belly? Let me jump on you and then reposition myself numerous times by placing all my weight on your stomach via either my paddle paws or my bony elbows. That will help, right?

Yes, puppy needed to be put aside for a bit. So, a day before I went under the laproscope (I made that word up), Dad whisked her away to sunny Cape Cod, and I didn't see her again until eight days later when I joined everyone else down at Scott's End.

Prior to that, while I was laying in agony and discomfort, Harlow was learning to swim, going on multiple walks a day (sometimes attended, sometimes not, because, well, a puppy's gotta wander if she feels like it, people!), getting lots of treats and tummy rubs and oodles of people telling her how beautiful she is, free range on were to roll and where to poop and how long she should be out exploring for, receiving extra special things in her food bowl (because kibbles not good enough for cape dogs!) and on and on.

When I showed up, she was feral.

I exaggerate, she was a good girl in the cape and feral when we went back to the real world.

Happy little grubby girl!



Happy happy!



and then there was a the shark-fish she proudly brought to me




Here she is helping out Uncle Billy by kindly removing the branches he placed in a wheelbarrow

Uncle Billy was pruning and Harlow was helpful. from C.M. Scott on Vimeo.


Nervous about the deep water, she was brave while learning to fetch in the water...

Nervous about the high tide, churning as she comes back from C.M. Scott on Vimeo.


Once we returned home, there was about a week where her snout was just out of joint. I would come home to find a shoe or two chewed one day (she hasn't done that in probably nine months), and the next day she's get into the living room trash bin. The next day her offenses were more signs of boredom and empty threats, like removing the cushion from the char but not damaging it, or, my personal favorite, carefully removing the lid to the wooden salt bowl and placing it in another room, spilling no salt, and getting no teeth marks on the lid. It was a sort of I could make a serious mess if I wanted to!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Nervous

On Friday I'm going to the hospital to have my gallbladder removed. I know, who needs that organ, right? My ovaries are useless, my pancreas shot, gallbladder gone soon.

Initially this was supposed to happen in late September. I had some tests done last week though, and when the surgeon called to tell me they blood work looked great (no other organs in distress), he asked how I was feeling. At the time I'd been really uncomfortable for about three days; queasy, and sore on my right side. I told him so. "Let's not wait" he said "Let's take it out" he added, saying that he didn't want me to be uncomfortable for another six weeks waiting to have it done. I had to agree, especially with a trip to Quebec with girlfriends coming up, I really didn't want to travel feeling like I did. Plus there's that fear I have that the organ will inexplicably explode inside me and that would just be far more inconvenient (also unlikely) than having the thing taken out sooner rather than later.

So while I am sad to have to move some client appointments, annoyed my vacation week will now be a recovery week, and have to bow out of some social stuff I was really looking forward to, I really want to get this behind me.

I know it could be worse, but I'm nervous. What if they nick something in there? What if recovery takes longer than expected? This could be a problem since I have a wedding to shoot in three weeks. Yikes!  I also have multiple expectant moms on the books, waiting for their babes to arrive so they can book a session. What if I get an infection? Most importantly, what if I have to totally change what I eat? A coworker of mine who had her gallbladder removed told me as soon as she heard about me "Oh, I cant eat ANY ice cream at all anymore"

Thanks a lot, bitch.

And then there's dealing with this one (who Dad has kindly offered to take off my hands for a bit while I'm recovering)...

Late night couch catch from C.M. Scott on Vimeo.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Our Vet

I love Harlow's vet. A few weeks back we made a visit there to investigate Harlow's grass eating. I don't watch Harlow very carefully, I admit. She had her dog door through which to escape into the yard and frolic with her imaginary friends. But I've noticed when I am outside with her that I've frequently caught her eating grass then puking it back up.

Since her behavior hasn't changed and she still eats her own kibble (more quickly when soft food is added for enticement), I basically thought little of it. But maybe a few months went by and she was still doing it so I figured, couldn't hurt to ask.

The first time we went to see Dr. Chase in Winchester, the vet sat right down on the floor, and puppy Harlow went right over to her, immediately leaning into her like she was her bestest friend ever. This time Harlow was a bit nervous, but Dr Chase got low again and Harlow relaxed eventually. She asked a ton of questions and did a physical exam and suggested we do a baseline test (all the results were good). She also checked Harlow's anal glands, which was a new thing for Harlow and she understandable didn't care for it too much. After expelling her, Dr. C left to room and clean up a bit, when she returned, Harlow recoiled next to me, jamming her back into the wall.

At which point, the vet sweetly approached Harlow and gently assured her with some nice petting "It's OK Harlow, no more bum. No more bum".

Coming across this collection of photos of dogs heading to the vet made me think of this story
http://www.buzzfeed.com/elainawahl/27-dogs-on-their-way-to-the-vet#.dvz3XOe8r


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Old Soul is a Genius!

Last night Harlow was outside exploring for quite a while. When she came back in, her muzzle was covered in mud, and her paws too. There was a strange stench coming from her, like skunk and a burned motor. I took her back outside after some changing of clothes on my part and hosed her down to get all the mud off. The smell didn't seem to be coming from her body.

I couldn't smell it outside or in the house, but it was emanating from somewhere. Then I realized the stench was coming from inside her mouth!

I have no idea what went down outside, why she was so muddy, or what exactly went into that giant kibble hole of hers, but if I didn't know better I'd say a skunk left it's stink sack in my yard and Harlow consumed it. Good thing we're working on teeth brushing because I was able to do a bit of that before giving her a breath freshening bone.

It didn't do much to take the edge off and unfortunately, I had to evict her form my bedroom last night. She didn't like that much, pathetically scratching at the door while whimpering a bit. Come morning she was happy and stinky just as she'd been the night before.

I'm a lucky girl.

Untitled from C.M. Scott on Vimeo.

This is from the other night when Ben was visiting and Harlow was all over both of us.
His cutline read "It's really heart-warming how much my friend Cydney Scott loves spending time with her sweet puppy, Harlow. "

Monday, July 27, 2015

Revere Beach Sand Scultping

I had a very nice second date last weekend and I'm not going to jinx it by going on and on, but I will say we thoroughly enjoyed checking out the sand sculptures! After the sculptures and copious amounts of people watching, we walked a good distance to Antonia's One The Beach. He'd made a reservation as we walked there and as we got closer, I'll just say it, it looked like a hole. I didn't care, I'm just painting a picture. The food was amazing! Nice little surprise!

This one was my favorite and also the only one I photographed. Freedom Embraces Justice. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

She's An Old Soul

I was on my way out when I crossed paths with Harlow's dog walker Bonnie the other day. As she headed up the stairs she said to me "Harlow has a lot more confidence these days! She's doing really well and listening really well."

"I have to tell you about this…" she added.  Last week, while leaving the parking lot, Bonnie's car was hit by another car that was going about 65 mph. Her leg was broken in the accident and while ambulances did come to take her away she refused to except help. I look down her leg and it was all bruised up! "Oh I'm fine! I can heal myself!" she reassured me. Her daughter Amanda had picked her up at the scene and taken her to the hospital, but she refused to have a cast put on and was now walking and working on it after only a few days of rest.

Knowing how Harlow can be on a leash, I got a little nervous about where the story was headed. When she came to get Harlow for a walk last week, Harlow approached her bruised leg, gave it to sniff, and was very gentle from then on out. Bonnie told Harlow that they'd only be walking on level ground today, and Harlow moved at a very slow and gentle pace for the entirety of the walk. "I'm telling you" said Bonnie "I've always thought she's an old soul!"

At one point Bonnie started to hobble a little bit. Harlow stopped and ever so slightly leaned against Bonnie, as if to give her something to hold on to if she needed it. "Maybe I was imagining it but I don't think so!" said Bonnie.

My dog the shaman.

New furcut

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Strayed

I'm feeling blue today. It started last night when I ate a pint of Ben and Jerrys. I don't feel guilty, but I could stand to lose a few pounds and consuming that much goodness isn't helping in that area, even with the over five miles of walking I did yesterday during work.

Maybe my blueness started over the weekend. Well, OK, maybe it started before that because I failed to remember to take my meds for a few too many days in a row. Nothing sabotaginal about it, I just forgot. I'm back on track now.

Saturday though. I read somewhere that a good way to work towards reducing body fat is to do an exercise once a week that alternates; 60 seconds of high intensity followed by 60 seconds of rest. Do this for about 16 minutes and add two more minutes every week.

On Saturday I got Harlow all leashed up and headed to the Fells for a hike-run to implement this new exercise. I had mapped my path using an app in my phone and was holding my phone and the dog leash while trying to navigate the paths (the GPS in the app isn't very accurate on a good day let alone when you're hidden in trees) when I tried to take a little hop over a small log and caught my foot sending my full weight square onto my knees on rocks.

I got up, assessed the damage and decided I could finish the work out just fine. And I did. So did Harlow. As we rested in the shade at the end of our forty minute hike which started with the 60/60 workout, Harlow was lapping up some water when I looked down at my phone, not four months old, and realized I'd shattered the screen. And then I remembered that I had meant to buy an industrial strength Otter box to protect the new phone, and that the bumper currently on it was just a place holder. But I forgot.

I got home with a mission to figure out how to replace the screen without going bankrupt. Long story short, the best deal I could get will run me a bit over $100. So Wednesday I'll take it to Apple to have that fixed. I bought an Otter Box online Saturday afternoon as I looked down at my sad phone.

Something about damaging my phone really got to me. I wanted to cry. Like, really wanted to. I take great pride is taking good care of my possessions, and somehow damaging this particular one really bothers me. A lot.

These feelings are also an indication to me of how valuable my phone is to me (read; how dependent I've become on it). I use it to take and post photos, contact friends and family, reach out to clients and learn about stuff in the world.

We headed home and I iced my knee for an hour and a half, then I mowed the lawn, then I wanted to vomit from the heat. I went into my evening plans frankly feeling like complete shit, convinced that there's something wrong with my gall bladder because when I feel sick, the area where the gall bladder apparently is, aches. I suppose I could ask someone about it. Like, a professional or something.

The evening picked up my mood with good company and a few mini-theater shows in the city. Laughing fixes a lot. So does winning a raffle with an envelope full of really nice things like skin treatments and coffee shops and bakeries. That was nice. And I deserved it.

Home ownership has me stressed. Looking at the condition of my house, I'm pretty sure a residing is needed. What I need is someone all-knowing to come to my house, look at it, and tell me, magically, what is needed most. Is the porch rotting? Will my shingles make it a few more years? And so on. Since buying my new (used) car and paying for it with much of my Cydney Scott Photography savings, I don't really have the money to do the siding anymore. So I'm left wondering if I can't do it this year will I be able to afford it next year or, as it is with home ownership, will something else come up that will zap me like a failed heating system or something and I'll end up having to sell my house cause the walls are rotting and I didn't stay ahead of it?

Then there are the trees. I have a huge Maple Tree in my yard which is big and strong and beautiful in the fall for seven and a half days before it dumps 42 tons of leaves on my property. I'm constantly pulling up little saplings in my yard, and the big maple makes so much shade that nothing will grow beneath it. I'm not a supporter of cutting down trees just because they're a nuisance, but I also have visions or the roots growing into my basement.

My gardens have saplings of all kinds growing all over and that's another project I have to take on soon - pulling them up.

I'm fighting the urge to buy things in an effort to fill the little hole of loneliness I have in me. That space where the thought grows that I am never going to find my person and I need to simply accept that and embrace it.

I have been listening to Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. She's an author and advice columnist for Dear Sugar, and Tiny Beautiful Things is a collection of letters and answers which she has given over the years. I once visited the Dear Sugar site and I didn't have the patience for her very long and wordy responses (what a coincedence, she thinks as she rambles on), but having her read them to me is far more palatable.
Interesting though to find it to be rather intense, almost leaving me with a need to take a break from time to time. People writing in about their heartbreak and trauma, etc. One man writing in about how he is so physically deformed that he cannot see himself ever finding love and her telling him a story about a friend who was severely burned and eventually killed himself. These stories alway give me pause and make me reflect on the absurdity of my own self-criticism.

Another woman writes in about how she can't find the right man and should she just have a kid on her own? Of course that one hit close to home with the added bonus of pregnancy not even being an option for me. Fostering could be an option, but is it a good idea? Not really. Sugar gives the girl the same things to consider that I have considered myself about having a kid alone; can you afford it? How would you handle childcare? how would you be about no longer having a social life? And so on.

I've been messaging with a few guys on OKCupid (online dating) and one recently said he was off to Philly with his son for ten days. In my FB newsfeed there came a story about a pizza joint in Philly where you can buy a slice, then pay for another one that could go to a homeless person at another time. Very cool. I shot him a message basically saying "I know you don't really know me so maybe this is weird, but I saw this and thought I'd mention it to you since you said you were Philly-bound" I added a link to the story about the place.

His response was not "Hey cool! Thanks for sharing but..."  It was this...

i'm kind of outside of town - i didn't actually grow up in the city. i'd like to give you a suggestion since i saw it when you made the change to your profile in the activity window. i think it is a mistake to be upset if a guy asks you out with only 12 hours to go - that you feel down. first of all - please take this off of your profile. it feels desperate. just speaking as a friend. it will keep guys away from you. second, i am a spontaneous person and i would l often suggest things at the last minute - i would fly to other countries and spend months there based on how i woke up in the morning. third, i sort of dated a woman briefly and she'd get really upset if i called her from work and suggested that we get together that evening. it had nothing to do with her - it was just the rhythm of my life. you are forgetting that people might be dealing with crazy stuff at work and there not even sure if they are going to be in town or even free on a weekend. lastly, in the beginning - it is better to start more as friends and let it build naturally from there. that's my view on it at least.

In general, he is very correct. Finishing the statement "I spend a lot of time thinking about..." I stated that, basically, being asked out at the last minute leaves a person feeling like an after-thought. It's a new statement I added to my profile just the other day and definitely needed removing. Rather than give him a diatribe, I simply said thanked him for the advice and told wished him a nice trip, even is he couldn't make it to the cool pizza place (which he never even thanked me for sharing with him).

I am picky. I am demanding. I am entitled. These are facts. But also true is the fact that if a woman showed to a date not "date ready", there would be no second date. If I showed to a date right from work because I was asked out while at work the same day, I'd never hear from that guy again. Why? not because I'm a slob at work, but because it's hot out these days; I wear my hair in a bun, not nice and sleek and flowy like it's expected to be, even if I'm just going for ice cream. I'm wearing presentable pants and a nice t-shirt, but not date-appropriate clothes.

Dates for me FUCKING SUCK and I hate them. I have to go all the way home, shower, wash and dry my hair, do my make-up, pick out the right outfit which flatters my figure the best and works for whichever location we may be going to. Guys? Unless they're in work-out clothes, no ones really going to judge THEM for showing up wearing whatever shirt was on their back all day long. And even if they do need to change, the prep-work expected of them is FAR less than any beauty torture bullshit we have to go through.

"It was just the rhythm of my life" he wrote. Exactly. YOUR life, but not the life of the woman you were dating at the time. No regard for what the rhythm of her life was like (I say this knowing full well I know nothing of that relationship so I am writing on face value), or the pressure she felt about having to look right for the date, or the feeling she might of had that she was the plan B that evening. Hm, nothing great's come up for my evening so maybe that woman I'm casually dating with come hang out. I'll ask her to Jump and she'll ask 'How high?'! because all women want to be loved and will put up with men not valuing their time because  a good guy is hard to find and if I don't put up with this disrespectful person's treatment towards me, I'll be alone forever.

Awesome.

I'm grouchy and going for a walk now.

I'm back and while on my walk I listened to more of Strayed's book. When I pressed play while leaving my building and walking out into the sunlight, she was picking up where she left off in a response to a letter writer. "Stop feeling sorry for yourself" her voice said into my ears. Ah, yes. Well said.

Later she said "You don't have a right to the cards you feel you should have been dealt. You do have the right to play the hell out of the ones you were".  I feel I was dealt a very good hand, but I just liked the quote.

Pick-me-ups...
she says she wants a Pope-mobile for Christmas now


Shake it off from C.M. Scott on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Fourth Of July

Fourth of July has come and gone and it was a very nice weekend on the cape with family and friends. I've recently joined Instagram and have become slightly obsessed. I love visiting the app on my phone and being inspired by photos from around the wrold. So, I started posting from my world. Here are a few...

Harlow and I got stuck in traffic on the way to the cape. So slow!

More artsy traffic pics

She was very excited to be at Scott's End. Here she is, still for about twenty seconds. 

I made bandanas for all the pups



Happy girl after some digging in the ocean






Mmmmmm


Exsausted at the end of the weekend



 Crazy digging. I think she was after the crabs...
Little digger from C.M. Scott on Vimeo.





Non-Instagrammed shots...
Vivian

heading to Shimmer

All aboard


Fin