Tag Archives: birthdays

how to get a shot

getting a shot - The Best Advice So Far

Today, I want to tell you how a seemingly simple thing – a photo – came into being. But zooming out (see what I did there?), it’s really about how opportunity happens.

I’m the kind of person who never had trouble with those old creative writing exercises where you were supposed to find comparisons between two seemingly dissimilar objects. A boot and a wedding ring. A lamp and a compass. That sort of thing. In fact, this kind of associative thinking comes rather naturally to me.

My brain is always on the go, making connections that few others, if any, see. And sometimes this happens so fast that, in energized conversation exchanges, my brain is tripping along so fast that I often make apparent non sequiturs. You might have just commented that it blows your mind how a certain song on the radio could ever have become a hit, and I’ll say, “Speaking of which, did you know that Elvis Costello’s first band, before the Attractions, was called Clover and later became Huey Lewis and the News?”

Now, this doesn’t seem to have a logical connection, I realize, other than the tangential connection that your comment had to do with music. But in my head, “blow my mind” made me think of Toni Basil’s 1982 one-hit-wonder “Mickey” (“Hey, Mickey, you’re so fine. / You’re so fine you blow my mind, / Hey, Mickey!”), which made me think of Mickey Mouse, which made me think of Donald Duck, which made me think of Donald’s nephews – Huey, Dewey and Louie – which made me think of Huey Lewis, which made me think of having read earlier that day that his band used to be called Clover and played on Elvis Costello’s first album.

And so you see, it all makes perfect sense.

Now, please know, as I talk about in The Best Advice So Far, I do make every effort to tune in to what others are saying in the moment; but, again, if I’m with a friend and the conversation is rapid-fire, I can experience these “chain thoughts” and not even realize it until my friend is giving me that look, as if to say, “Um … you’re doing it again.”

Well, today, my friend, I am going to share with you a sequence of events that occurred in a domino effect leading to a photo shoot that occurred on Wednesday of this week. (And for the grammarians among us, let me say right now that I plan to use run-ons gratuitously, because I think they’ll best convey the feeling of how fast-paced and “swimmy” it all went down. Don’t hate.)

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in between

in between 2 - The Best Advice So Far

So, Thanksgiving was last week. Using my superpower-status deductive reasoning skills, I’ve concluded with reasonable certainty that Thanksgiving, then, is not also this week. And what a relief that revelation is! Sure, sure, I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with the best of people. But all that … thankfulness! It’s such a drain, isn’t it? Which is why it’s a darned good thing that a day for being thankful only comes round once a year. Who could handle more?

And this applies, naturally, to other holidays and occasions. What a bother it would be to celebrate and affirm people on days other than their birthday, for instance. Can you imagine! Getting someone a card and filling it up with positive things about them, or taking them to dinner for no reason – in between birthdays? Preposterous! Not only would this be an extreme inconvenience to the giver, but the receiver would certainly tire almost immediately of being treated with this kind of special care and appreciation.

Anniversaries? I mean really, I’m surprised it hasn’t yet become a federal law that anniversary celebrations should be limited to once every five years – or, better yet, ten – instead of every single year.

“I love you.”

“I’m glad I picked you and that you picked me.”

“You look as beautiful to me today as ever.”

“Congratulations on another year of marriage. You two are an inspiration.”

Blah. Blah. Blah. Drivel! Imagine the tedium of speaking or having to hear such cloying rubbish more than once a year! What a waste of energy – energy that could be better spent on more important things like … like work, or like paying attention to the plot of a favorite television program, for instance.

The same goes for Valentine’s Day. I mean, not everyone even has a “somebody” on Valentine’s Day. Shouldn’t there be some kind of mandated baseline of solidarity on this? But, no! Seriously, wouldn’t it be so much easier for the “haves” among us to just act like the “have-nots” and go about their day without all the hoopla and distraction and nonsense? At least there is the small comfort in knowing that the in between days are refreshingly free of ridiculous notions like doing nice things for one another, expressing ourselves in creative ways, having romantic dinners out or exchanging little tokens of love.

Oh, and … whatever it is each person is calling the upcoming winter holidays. Christmas. Hanukkah. Kwanzaa. Seems to me that it’s just another cause for irritating one another. First, you have to worry about how you’re going to well-wish anyone. God (or whomever) forbid that you bestow the wrong wish on someone, or they on you. Really, why bother trying to be nice at all, when you know you run a high risk of offending or being offended each time?

And then there’s this weird phenomenon where strangers talk to one another at all – on city sidewalks, at the mall, in offices. How intrusive! All this interrupting one another with smiling and “good cheer”and whatnot. Isn’t it exhausting? Do you know there are even songs that wish for this kind of collective mood and behavior to “last the whole year through”? One even encourages people by saying, “Don’t save it all for Christmas Day”! Oh, Pop music and your eternal silliness.  Who could handle such interactions steadily during all those months in between?

Couple this with yet another big meal with too many people gathered in one house, all the noise of those clinking glasses and laughter and the music of the same old songs. I guess all one can do is plow on through to that long, uncomplicated stretch of normal winter on the other side of it all, when we can take down all those lights, get our noses back to those grindstones and, for Pete’s sake, stop being so darned nice to one another.

Alas, you know what they say: “You can’t fight City Hall.” So, it seems for the time being at least, we’re stuck with these little holidays – once a year, every year. I guess we’ll just have to suck it up and deal with it. But please, please … don’t perpetuate the problem by coloring outside the lines. You have your allotted days for love and appreciation and gifts without reason. Don’t go upsetting the apple cart by doing and saying holiday-like things or dishing out the lovey-dovey appreciation and kindness with the people around you during the days in between.

Who’s with me on this?

(The answer, I hope … is “no one.”)

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how to be happy: sparkle in the eye

Today is my birthday.

But my birthday did not cause the sparkle in my eye today. No, if birthdays could cause sparkles, everyone would have them automatically each time they completed another revolution around the sun.  Would that this were true! But, alas, I know plenty of people who snort in curmudgeonly fashion when their birthday arrives, exclaiming that celebrating past the age of 10 is just plain silly and that they will have none of that nonsense.

I am also at the front end of the longest vacation of my life thus far: three weeks in Naples, Florida.

But my vacation isn’t the reason for the sparkle in my eye today any more than my birthday is. If vacations could cause sparkles, we’d see that sparkle in the eyes of everyone who ever went on vacation. However, I can attest to the fact, having met many miserable vacationers the world over, that this is sadly not the case. I’ve heard people in Paris complaining about the price of a bottle of wine, or the fact that the locals don’t speak English to their liking. I’ve eavesdropped on families arguing at the beach: “Well, you kids had better start having fun, because this little vacation wasn’t cheap!” No, I’m afraid wonderful vacations don’t have the power to add instant sparkles to anyone’s eyes.

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