Archive for January, 2016

Dinner with my niece

Friday, January 8th, 2016

Well, I had a well thought out long post here and wordpress killed it.

A quickie then as it is late and I have other things to do before I can sleep tonight.

I had a nice dinner tonight with my niece.  She’s 16 and beautiful.


She is definitely a teenager, though. She’s in the throes of teenagerness, dealing with all the things that go along with it: friend drama, dating drama (had the first fight with her girlfriend tonight,) school worries, driving worries, body issues.

All the things you’d expect from a teenage girl. All the things you wish they didn’t have to go through.
The worst is she doesn’t like the way she looks. You know how most American woman dislike their bodies, their faces, their hair. We have it pushed into our brains that we are not good enough, never good enough.

She’s in the worst of it.

Prior to dinner, I had a discussion with her and a friend about how in 20 years they’ll look back at pictures of themselves and realize how cute they were.

I do it. I was fat, but not as fat as I thought. My hair was pretty, my eyes were too. Yet, I thought I was horrid looking. Now, I look back and wonder why my brain would betray me in such a way.

I wish I could make all of that go away for her. I wish I could give her a 40-year-old perspective on it.

Yet at the same time, I look in the mirror and see the grey in my hair, the wrinkles starting on my face, how my skin on my hands is starting to thing, and it is difficult to not feel bad.

Especially at a time when women are still treated poorly for aging. Hell, look at what Carrie Fisher has been through with the release of Episode 7.

So much has been said about how “poorly” she has aged. It’s 40 years later. FORTY and some people seem to think she’s should still look like a 19-year-old.

It just doesn’t work that way.

Not for any of us.

It’s ridiculous.

Carrie Fisher though?  She has handled it with aplomb.  I only hope I can be more like her and encourage my niece to be more like her.

For that matter, all women to be more like her.  We age, if we’re lucky. We’re not perfect, no one is.

We’re so hard on ourselves that it is just beyond words.

Now, it is late and I’ve rambled and I need to wrap my husband’s birthday present.  He turns 42 on Monday. We’ve been together since he was 22. Talk about changing, we’ve changed together and I love it.

Christmas in our house.

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

In August/September of 2015 we moved into a new home. A much larger home actually in town limits.

It has been awesome. And it allowed me to do something I have always wanted to do-have multiple Christmas trees.

This year we had the main, Star Wars decorated, my silver and gold one, a white one with blue lights, a small blue and silver Kurt Adler one, and a baking decorated one with white lights. That is plus the wooden one with multicolored lights Daddy made me and a plain green one that just decorated the bookshelf.

So seven trees, total. From 18 inches tall to seven-foot tall. A tiny skinny tree to a reasonably full one. All of which I owned, bar the big one, before this year.

Here are a few pictures, taken with the lights off in the house.



Side of Star Wars tree, small white with blue lights


6.5 foot tall and only 18 inches across.


Large Star Wars Tree


Large tree and lighted wreath that Mom and Dad got us a coupe years ago.


Our mantle with the Kurt Adler Star Wars tree








The baking tree that ended up in the bathroom as it looked gorgeous in there.

The baking tree that ended up in the bathroom as it looked gorgeous in there.

2016 Resolutions

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

Two resolutions this year. Two


I will do more personal writing. I will write here more.

I will write as much as I can. My brain will write more than work writing.

There will be more than news articles, interviews, and other non-paper, but work writing.

Even if it is just one paragraph a day, I will do it. In fact, I did one paragraph for one day already.

That is because Tony and I spent hours and hours together, on a date night, out playing Ingress.



I will take more photographs. More non-work ones. I will take a photograph a day so I can work on improving.

I will take photos of things that interest me, even if it is something no one else will care about.

Two things about my two passions for 2016.

Two Years to the Day

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

cbesfire08Two years ago today, this is the scene I spent hours photographing. Luckily, my work has improved since then, however, I did win a 2014 Virginia Press Association Award for Best Breaking News photo in a non-daily paper for one of my shots.


Having said that, this was the final straw that broke the camel’s back of Colonial Beach Elementary School on Douglas Avenue here in town.

Not long after the fire began, or more correctly was started by four young men who grew up here in town, I was called by my best friend, Tracey. I raised to the site and spent all night and most of the day taking thousands of pictures as the building burned.

Firefighters from 16 agencies responded to the fire from all over Virginia and Maryland. A pump boat from Maryland pumped water to the crews who were trying to control the blaze.

cbesfire18For hours and hours I watched more than 100-year-old building burn. A building that meant so much to this town, to me, to all the people who grew up here, was being destroyed before our eyes.


As daylight dawned, more and more local people showed up to watch the fire. Former students, teachers, people who had no connection to the school, even.

The worst moment for me was watching one retired coach, PE teacher, and Athletic Director stand on the blacktop facing the building that he had spent so many years teaching in. You could see the grief of the loss of the building weigh on him, immediately.


In October of 2015 the building was completely demolished, all of the brick building and the gymnasium attached to it. I was there for that, for days on end, taking thousands of pictures of the demolition.


Again, I watched as so many people showed up to say goodbye to Colonial Beach Elementary School as the bricks came down and the sight line to the river was cleared.


While my heart was torn in two while I watched it come down, it was even worse to see former teachers, students, friends, classmates stand there and see all the memories come tumbling down.


Class of 1938


The wall comes down











Monday, January 4th, 2016

Grief weighs on you. Right now my grief feels like two elephants are sitting on my shoulders.

I have cried a lot today over a man I had only known a couple of years, but who had become my friend. Gig was so amazing and so many people loved him that his Facebook page is full of love and praise and thousands and thousands of people missing him.
The loss of this one day shy of 52-year-old man is more immense than the world realizes. Such a huge voice and an amazing songwriter silenced so young.


You don’t think about people dying of pneumonia in today’s world. You take some antibiotics or go into the hospital for some IV antibiotics and you get better.

You don’t die, the day before your birthday, from it.

Yet, at 8:03 PM January 3rd, Gig’s light went out. He left this earthly plane to whatever it is that follows us after.

I hope he’s sitting on a comfortable as hell bar stool, a tall glass of Crown in front of him, his clear acrylic mic stand in front of him. All six and half feet of him, long blond hair, and beard singing to the gathered crowd.


You left a huge impression on the world, Gig. I’m glad I got to meet you. I’m immensely humbled that I got to photograph you. And, I am extremely glad that I was able to call you friend.

My Drinking Song by Swamp da Wamp

Part of this video was filmed here in Colonial Beach at High Tides on the Potomac.

A large man with long blonde hair and a leather hat on sings into a microphone on an acrylic, clear stand

Gig singing at CB BikeFest 2 on the boardwalk stage

blue jeans, old, worn with harley davidson and other patches

Gig’s pants he wore to perform in.