my photography presentation from evo.

I realize this probably needs a lot more explanation than what I have in the presentation above, but for those of you who where there? You’ll totally get what I’m talking about. For those of you who weren’t there?

Please! Ask me questions. I’ll do another post answering your questions to the best of my ability. Or just say “EXPLAIN EVERYTHING FOOL!” (although that could result in my crying in a corner…but I’ll do it!)
I guess I have to preface this by saying I’m not a teacher, I still really don’t have any idea what I’m doing but I can say that I love it. Also? I spent half the panel in tears because I love my mom and I love my camera and I love what it’s done for me. sob sob sob…
(It also didn’t help that just before it was my turn I noticed Karen. Which is pretty much like teaching a fitness class to Jillian Michaels, you know, if everyone loved and adored Jillian…)
Thank you to everyone who braved the death trap to come, and to the other ladies I was privileged enough to share this panel with, Aimee, Jen and Jenny.

inspired. (now with more cat!)

Last year the BlogLuxe awards were giant  jewels etched with bragging rights.


(Photo by Beth)

Oh man how I wanted one. I still do. Like. Really.

I may have held one. Stroked one. Pretended to accept it all Roberto Benigni style.

Fast forward to this year.

I’ve been nominated for a BlogLuxe award.

For most Inspirational Blog.

Dude.

I have a folder in my email labeled “warm fuzzies.”

From the emails I’ve saved over the last year one would believe I have “most inspirational” in the bag.

Then I checked out the other nominees.

You guys. I’m included on a list with Stephanie, Heather, Arianne, Steph, Tanis, Kim, Blair, Heather, Grace, Mishi, Anissa and ZOMG MAGGIE. (And 61 other amazing bloggers.)

I’m going with “IT’S JUST AN HONOR TO BE NOMINATED.”

If you would have ever told me I would have made it onto a list with those ladies I would have told you to shut up because lying is mean and bad.

However I have people like Jen who say her daughter is alive because of something I wrote.

“But one night…I stumbled upon a blog post that changed my life at that moment….that very second. It answered my prayers. It saved my baby girl’s life.”

I have a doctor who thanked me for doing what he has always tried to do for his patients.

“What I could do, I did on a very small scale. What you do benefits thousands, tens or hundreds of thousands maybe. Thanks so much for what you do.”

I never ever ever thought I would be here. I was telling Allison at EVO that I feel as though I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. And again, had to you told me that exactly what I am supposed to be doing is writing too much about my life on the Internet? I would have asked you to check your facts a little better.

You say you are here for my writing. But I am here because of you. Every single one of you.

You have saved me more than once.

I would never be here without you. And I don’t mean on the Internet or on this list of inspiring bloggers.

I literally would not be here.

I wish there were a category for best readers, because you, my friends would win it.

mr. wesley

(this is a picture of my newest felinephew Wesley. I have always felt what my blog truly lacks is more cats. so here you go, a picture of a cat. he’s cute right? Oh, and if  you do feel like voting? You can vote once per day through July 12th. Thank you for even considering it. Seriously. Nomination. Dude. Amazing.)

the happy cry.

I spent most of the weekend on the verge of tears.

If not on the verge, I was generally in them.

But never from sadness, only tears of joy and appreciation.

I was me this weekend.

You know, the old me.

love. her. (lisa leonard)

I cried because I’ve missed this me so much. I like this me. This me is easy to take out in public.

a view from the front.

I’ve cried because I know this won’t last forever. That I could wake up tomorrow and this me could be taken hostage by the part of my brain I can’t control.

YEE HAW

I’ve cried because for the first time in a long time I was able to look around and see beauty in every. single. thing.

tootsies

Especially the people I am lucky enough to be surrounded by.

moosh, spohr, vdog, flinger, bradshaw, dawn, katie

I have such good people around me. I sometimes feel I don’t deserve to be in the ranks of the friends I have.

being roommates brought us closer.

I have such a good life. I couldn’t even name the ways.

jet set et moi

This weekend I didn’t hide behind my camera. I used it to capture and hopefully hold on the the beauty that engulfed me this weekend, and hopefully I can lock this feeling away somewhere safe in my heart where my brain can’t touch it.

the lovely miss annabel

I’m so scared of when this me is going to go.

low blood sugar made us punchy.

But I can’t live in fear of that moment. I must live in hope of this one, right now. Knowing with all my heart that it will return.

me doing the karen walrond face

evolution of a gondola ride.

Friday I taught a class about photography. To a room full of people.

As if that weren’t enough to cause panic and emotional destruction attending the class required an 11 minute gondola ride.

Brittany thought “Gondola? BOAT!”

Brittany quickly learned that in Utah gondola means “bouncy suspended death cage!”

As did I.

I rode up alone.

Up. ZOMG with the up.

And then there was the service guy walking to the tower  was about to pass over. No thank you. No.

Thank you.

Once I crested the top I figured I’d see a lodge and in my mind I was thinking “11 minutes? Pfft. Apparently SMT (standard Mormon time) applies to gondola rides as well.”

Only here’s the thing.

Once you crest the top?

YOU’RE SUSPENDED HUNDREDS OF FEET OVER CERTAIN DEATH.

Which results in this.

Once I made it to the top I warned the gondola worker that a little warning about flying over the grand canyon would have been nice. He said he’d be sure to let them know.

I think he was lying.

So on the way back down LindseyAlexis and I treated it more like a roller coaster.

See?

whee!

This conference was fun.

Suspended death cage included.

More later….xo

the one about a broken heart.

A brokent heart has a very audible sound if you’re around to hear it.

It is a deeply painful and exhausting noise that manifests itself when there’s just not any more room left for hurt on the inside. It comes in waves. Long heaving sobs followed by quick uncontrollable gasps. Then a sort of relief comes, like you couldn’t possibly cry any longer.

But you are reminded of something…it could be anything involved with the origination of your sorrow.

And it starts again.

The problem with the sound of a broken heart is that they are rarely heard. Not because they are rare, but because they generally begin and end in private.

Those who don’t know the sound, those who haven’t been somewhere alone as their body is overtaken with such sorrow that nothing is a a motivation to keep going will tell someone going through a broken heart anything that sounds right and logical at the moment. “It’s going to be alright.” “Everything happens for a reason.” “They didn’t deserve you anyway.

It may be true, but broken hearts don’t reason and they don’t do logic.

Those who do know the sound? They will just shut up and get to work.

In whatever way that may be.

When I think of all the sorrow I’ve seen come across my screen over the past year I think of all the broken hearts. Ones that will never be heard aside from a few words tapped out for us to read.

The mind has a way of numbing the pain of a broken heart, although I firmly believe it is never truly gone or better. Which leads us to suffer in silence occasionally, because to the outside world we should “be over it already.

I’ve made the sound. I know the sound in a very intimate way. When I hear it the numbness around my heart is weakened.

Oh, how I know that sound.

And I’m so sorry that you have to know it too.

I miss my mom.

There. I said it.

And it’s not just because she’s in Ireland right now. Although I have to hand it to my mom and her crappy timing, seems like whenever I really need her she’s in a foreign country. Last time I cried out for my mom? She was in Turkey. Don’t even get me started on the time she was in Africa and that other time she was in Nepal.

Pfft. Stupid mom and your stupid passport.

It hasn’t always been like this. I remember the first time she left the country, it was to Italy. There was a sort of comfort knowing that my mom was going to be thousands upon thousands of miles away (sorry mom!)

Needless to say there was a time my mom and I didn’t get along. Like, at all.

Then I had a kid. Her grandbaby. And I realized all this stuff Addie does to me, the unending questions, the poop, the sobbing, the drama, the whining, the barf, the sleepless nights and HOLY COW DID I MENTION THE QUESTIONS? I did all of that to my mom. Plus she let me live through my teenage years so on top of everything listed above? I also did all that nasty teenagery stuff to her too (really sorry mom!)

And for the most part?

She did it alone.

Like any good daughter with issues I spent a lot of years blaming her and our crappy relationship for most (if not all) of my problems (so..so sorry mom!) Then one day it dawned on me that my mom didn’t have any formal training, and if I didn’t have any idea what I was doing as a teenager? I know for a fact she didn’t have any idea what to do with me either.

As much as I firmly believe it sucks, I am a grownup. And real grownups don’t blame their problems on other people. Especially not their mom who not only kept them alive, but allowed them to live past 15.

So yes, I miss my mom. I miss how much time I lost with her because I was so busy being selfish. I miss her because she’s alone. I miss her because she’s half a world away.

photo by my kim.

But mostly I’m thankful to have a mom to miss.

Now it is time for you to join in- You are invited to log onto www.thankyoumom.com and enter to win a travel voucher to help cover the cost of a special reunion with their mom or mom figure in their life.  Contest entrants must submit a 100 word essay describing why they’d like to be united with their mom.  Approximately 15 winners will be chosen every month through the Thanksgiving holiday.

Be sure to vote on your favorite entries for the Thank You Mom Reunions here.

This post is part of the P&G Thank You Mom Reunion Campaign through Blissful Media Group.


get a spray tan. lose your pride.

I feel I should tell you the following story to save you some strife/embarrassment/pride issues for the future.

Or maybe I’m the only one who attracts demoralizing activities like a moth to a flame.

And then blogs about them.

First, there was the treadmill.

Then there was announcing the treadmill situation to a room full of 800 strangers.

Then there were the Brazilians.

Now there’s the spray tan.

Now I’ve had a spray tan before, you get naked, spread some lotion on the rough parts, put a net on your hair and strike a series of Egyptian poses in a booth with a bunch of spray guns aimed at your bare pale flesh.

This last weekend I figured, “Hey! I’d like to buy myself a tan!” So I found a local joint in my new town, exfoliated and set out.

When she led me back to the room I went over the checklist in my head.

Lock on the door? Check.

Hairnet? Check.

DHA smell? Check.

Lotion…no…hmm.

Booth…check…wait….no sprayers…NO SPRAYERS IN THE BOOTH.

no check….NO CHECK!!!

Just then the nice lady informed me that I was to strip down to my underpants, position myself just so in the sprayerless booth, knock on the wall and she’d come back in.

SHE’D COME BACK IN.

SHE WAS THE SPRAYER.

HER. WITH EYEBALLS.

My face drained of color and was then replaced with a pink flush.

“Um, so, I feel like I should introduce myself since we’re about to, well, you’re about to see me really naked. Hi. I’m Casey, I like to take pictures, I have a few tattoos. I like cats more than dogs. I used to be fat!”

She was even more embarrassed that I had no idea that she was going to be the one doing the work.

I never even found out her name.

the anniversary that almost wasn’t.

Nine years. Phew. One third of my life with the same man.

Technically we started out as kids, 19 and 22.

Now we’re 28 and 31, he’s a lawyer, we have a kid, a mortgage and matching scars.

You see, last October we almost didn’t make it.

Since you can’t see me I’ll just have to tell you that typing that out brought tears to my eyes and a pain to my chest.

We were very private about our struggle. Our tiny apartment became ground zero. We didn’t leave the house much. We spent a lot of time in bed holding onto each other wondering how the hell we ended up where we were. Our eyes were itchy and puffy from the constant stream of tears. The TV wasn’t turned on. Very little food was eaten. Even fewer words were spoken.

We had both let ourselves grow so far apart from each other.

Growing up there was an old writing desk in our front room. I never really paid attention to it unless I needed a pen or a place to hide a treasure. Nobody really paid attention to it. It was just there. When my parents divorced, my dad took the desk and my mom was livid. I was only six at the time, but I remember how mad she was when we came home and found the desk gone.

Our marriage had become that desk. We used it when we needed it, but never really thought much about it, because it was always there when we needed it. Then, through a series of events, that desk was taken away from us and we had the choice to either fight for the old one or go shopping for new desks, on our own.

We both chose to fight.

The last time I stayed with my dad I really looked at that desk for the first time in 27 years. And you know what? It’s a great desk. A desk worthy of fighting over. I can see why my mom was so angry it was gone. I wonder now as I look back if that desk didn’t symbolize a whole lot more to my parents than simply a pretty place to hold pens and envelopes.

Last night at dinner Cody asked me what my favorite moment of the last nine years has been. His was when I walked down the aisle…which probably explains why a lot of you mentioned it looks like he wants to eat me in our ceremony photo.

“I may have been scared going into June 16 2001, but when I saw you walking down the isle all I could feel was complete excitement. I realized that marriage didn’t need to be scary because it meant that I got to spend forever with you.

I still feel the same way.”

In that moment he knew he wanted to be married and that he wanted to be married to me.

Mine is the night I was lying in his lap two weeks after meeting him.

In that moment I knew I wanted to be married and I wanted to be married to him.

And so we did, we are and always will be.