Monthly Archives: February 2007

my constant companion

ben, ready for action, Canon Digital Rebel XTi

Some years ago a friend of mine was telling me about an icky procedure she was going to have to do the next day at the hospital. “Do you want me to go with you?” I asked. Tears welled up in her eyes. “That would be so nice,” she said. “I didn’t know I could ask for that.”

There have been so many times I’ve been in the doctor’s office by myself getting tests or biopsies and wishing someone was with me. I don’t think we ever stop wanting the comfort of a loved one at a scary visit to the doctor. We underestimate how vulnerable it makes us feel.

My friends and I were talking about this recently and realized that we all think we have to do these things by ourselves.

We don’t.

We don’t have to be that independent or strong. It broke my heart to hear that a friend of mine recently got a biopsy for breast cancer all by herself. Can we all make a pact right now that we can ask our pals to go with us to the places that scare us?

perfect lines

white lily, Canon Digital Rebel XTi

Sometimes I am amazed by a perfect line. A naked branch silhouetted against the sky with exactly the right twisted path, the curve of somebody’s perfect shell of an ear, or the way this flower is not just a gorgeous white specimen but has that incredible spiral and green leaf next to it.

My world feels pretty small in a lot of ways right now. I have to remind myself that studying (and appreciating) the micro parts of my universe is important. It’s like a meditation… all of it.

And then there’s the internet when I am tired of meditating:
Amy Sedaris’s craft challenge
little birds
Why Not Try
I am dreaming of one of these for Ben: Petit Collagevia Jen Lemen

Put it on P

ben, 10 weeks, Canon Digital Rebel XTi

As you might guess, I chose my photographer carefully for our wedding. Having gorgeous photos at the end of the day was even more important to me than flowers or cake or a live band. We were thrilled with what Rikka did and since she gave us a print of every photo she took, I was blown away that every shot was exposed correctly. I asked my oldest friend Ryan (who is a photography professor and the head of the digital photography department at the Academy of Art) how she did it.

He looked over the prints, smiled and said, “Do you really want to know?” “Yes!” I said. I had so much trouble deciphering F-stops and shutter speeds and ISO… even after several photography classes, I still couldn’t seem to remember the proper way to expose things. I had instant amnesia.

“She put it on P.”
“She put it on the Program setting.”
“No!!! Really?!!!”
“Yes. Cameras these days are so sophisticated, they are actually smarter than we are sometimes. Use your tool girl! You will likely get perfect exposures every time on P.”

This was revulotionary information to me. I’ve had my camera on P ever since.

But more important than taking great photographs is the metaphor I found in this. Where else in my life could I just put it on P? Where in my life am I trying to do it “right” or perfectly or making things harder for myself. Where am I not simply using my tools/resources well?

One of my coaching clients really wanted to take photographs. It had been a creative dream of hers for a long time and she was really passionate about it. Every time we checked in however she had an excuse. “I had to read the manual… “I’m taking a photography class…” “I’m learning photoshop…” It seemed there was always a new way to prepare. She was always waiting for the perfect circumstances to begin.

I told her to bring her camera to work, put it on P and shoot 10 photos every day on her lunch break.”I can just do that?” she asked. “I feel like I’m cheating.” But really, this was simply another way that her inner critic had very cleverly kept her from achieving her dream.

Several weeks ago when Matt officially went back to work I figured I could handle watching the baby all day by myself. By the third day I was so physically and mentally exhausted that I just wanted to cry and quit. (or go back to work instead of my husband)

Then I thought… how can I put it on P?

The next day I hired someone to clean our house twice a month. (This is a luxury I’ve never allowed myself) Then we called the grandparents and fairy godparents and friends and booked some babysitters. I am still living in this question each day… What is one thing I can do to make this day more fun and easy? (Sometimes it’s handing the baby over to the neighbor and taking a bath)

Asking for help is something I have to remind myself to do. I am always humbled by how much people want to help, especially when there is a bundle of cuteness involved.

Where in your life can you put it on P?

The Valentine’s Day Smilympics

Matt and Andrea, Olympus Epic

The littlest superhero decided to sleep in one hour increments last night so I am running on empty today… but I wanted to offer up a little ode to my valentine husband Matt.

Above is a pic of Matt and I on our way to a costume party a few years ago. Sasha, Matt and I had a smilympics contest, a competitive event to see who can smile the biggest. (Isn’t it true that getting ready for a party is always the best part?) Anyway, this photo is a perfect encapsulation of why I love my husband.

All I ever dreamed of was someone who would be silly with me and play at least a little bit every day. I got my wish! and especially these days, a funny dance or a made up rap goes a long way.

What did you/do you wish for in a Valentine?

magical baby

ben, 2 months old, Canon Digital Rebel XTi

Sometimes he’s so cute I can’t even believe it. It’s as if he’s not human…more like a magical creature. More like a unicorn. Or maybe a unicorn crossed with a rainbow and the aurora borealis. A unicorn that smells like cherry blossoms and the air after a nice rain.


This is how the species lives on.

night owls

owl collection in window, Canon Digital Rebel XTi

Matt is a night owl by nature. I am an early bird. I used to think we were terribly ill-matched. In fact, when manifesting my perfect partner I specified that he be a morning person like me. I fantasized that we would sit in our sunshine-filled kitchen drinking coffee on the weekends listening to Cartalk on public radio. The Sunday New York Times, a poached egg and a walk in the neighborhood would be nice too. The fantasy was very clear and detailed.

And then along came Matt.. who will happily sleep until noon, who can’t stand the guys on Car Talk, will only eat his eggs scrambled and thinks walking is too slow and inefficient (he prefers the bicycle). Oh, and our kitchen is too small to actually sit in.

And now I see how lucky I am! I go to bed around 9:30pm and Matt watches the night owl baby (and feeds him with the bottle) until 3 or 4 AM. I take the morning shift and try to let Matt sleep as long as he can. This would never have seemed like a reasonable schedule until we had a baby but I am feeling very sane these days. The last time I left the oven on and almost burned down the house was weeks ago!

This is one benefit to both parents having jobs where they work from home and create their own schedule. All that said, we are hoping he will start sleeping through the night (or in blocks of time greater than 2 hours) soon… When does this happen people?!!

Deb Talan and Ben Passmore totally groovin on each other

Deb and Ben, Canon Digital Rebel XTi

This weekend Ben got to meet his hero Deb Talan of the Weepies (his labor album and all time fave). I think he won her over when he laughed in his sleep while she was holding him.

Nice work Ben. She’ll totally babysit now.