pixie on the shelf

There's an elf on my shelf? He better keep those books in alphabetical order!

Some of my favorite Christmas decorations have been with me since childhood. Leather reindeer, a very worn out Santa Claus container (for secret stashes of candy), and an elf or two. Some favorites have not made it through the years. One unfortunate toy was an inflatable Santa Claus that I often used as a punching bag when I was small. There finally came a Christmas when my father could not patch him up, but he graced our home well into my teens.

This Christmas, I've decided to take some shots of a few of my favorite things. This pixie is one of my favorite decorations / childhood playthings and has been around long before the current "elf on the shelf" craze. He's been on the mantels of cardboard and brick fireplaces, under the tree, in the tree, at the breakfast table, on the desk, and just about everywhere in between. This year, he decided to hang out in front of some Harry Potter books. Hopefully, he will not get into too much mischief there. As far as I know, he has never tattled on me to Santa. He doesn't roll like that. My father, who had a great sense of humor, picked up that wonderfully shiny MJ glove somewhere, and then placed it on Pixie's hand. Stylin! He has not taken the glove off since.

Toys and decorations that have a history bring back wonderful memories. Just seeing this Pixie's smile reminds me of how exciting the Christmas season can be, and how extraordinarily happy a child's heart can be over the simplest of things. Must be a little of that Pixie dust and that old Christmas magic.

long time no write

I had every good intention of writing on a monthly basis, but unfortunately work and life got in the way. I spent time in February and March creating new marketing materials for myself and a new website design. Then I got sidetracked with an increasing work load and expected – and unexpected – family obligations.

Since March I’ve written business articles; created copy for multiple newsletters; updated websites; taken more than a thousand wedding, school, graduation, golf, and family photographs (I stopped counting weeks ago); and completed a newsletter redesign and layout of a 36-page newsletter and annual report. So, lots of fun to go around!

Soon, I hope to get back into my early morning creative writing groove and shoot pictures for the fun of it. I also hope to play a bit more with some new design techniques.

I have been feeling a little like Ishmael these last few weeks — desperate to get down to the water. It just felt wrong to enter July without having gone for a swim. I finally had the chance late Friday afternoon to at least hit the pool.

Today I decided to take a break from processing pictures to finish the web update I began months ago and bring it live. Hope you like it.

happy thanksgiving

It’s been a long while since I made a new entry. Things got a little busy towards the end of the summer and into the fall, and the blog had to take a back seat.

It’s been a little over a year now since I restarted my business, and it’s been challenging at times, but always interesting and fun. Since June, I shot a few weddings and events; created logos; put together a few brochures, postcards, and ads; wrote another two rounds of business articles; and have been working on some branding materials.

Hope to post some new work soon, but in the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving to all.

speaking in a foreign tongue


Kicking around in the iTunes store about 11 weeks ago, I came upon My Daily Phrase Italian (one of many language programs by Radio Lingua). And so “step by step, day by day, phrase by phrase,” I have been learning and relearning a few words. I have been learning to speak Italian from Mark, who speaks English with a Scottish accent. Interestingly enough, I now find myself speaking English with a Scottish accent on occasion. When I was a child I spent much of my time with my grandfather, and so back then I spoke English with an Italian accent. For example, I would ask the waitress to cut my toast “corn to corn” because I wouldn’t eat bread unless it was cut at an angle, from corner to corner.

At any rate, I now know how to say “Sto imparando l’italiano. Non parlo molto. Parli inglese?” a group of phrases which make my mother laugh every time I say them. (I’m learning Italian. I don’t speak much. Do you speak English?) After 11 weeks, I know quite a few other phrases and words too (but none of the phrases and words I heard my grandfather say under his breath). I have got to work it a little more, but I find myself beginning to think in Italian every so often, and also at times when I fumble for an Italian word, I find I come up with the French equivalent. It’s been awhile since I’ve studied French so it is quite fun to relearn bits of that as I go along too.

Learning Italian has also brought me a new awareness of the musicality of a language, which in turn benefits my creative writing. I find that opening myself up to new things has always benefited my endeavors in some way. Designing for a dance company and viewing modern dance performances added a fluidity to my design work which had not been apparent before. It also challenged me to create collages of photos, work that I have not done for some time, but have been thinking of experimenting with again.

But now I must get back to the business of writing copy for a business. In between, I’ll keep learning Italian “step by step, day by day, phrase by phrase,” and continue to experiment with new techniques in writing, design, and photography.

Tutto per oggi! Ciao!

skipping out

A friend of mine skipped down to the beach this morning. “I feel so guilty,” she said when she returned my call. “I should have called you.” She was already on her way back when she phoned at 11:30 am.

By that time I was through with my morning writing and trying to talk myself into sorting through files and paperwork and doing some accounting and all that other not-so-fun but necessary stuff. I promised myself this would be a day of reorganizing and cleaning, but I find myself thinking of the ocean as the long weekend closes in.

It was August of last year when I took this picture of “Miss Abby.” It was a miserably hot and humid day, one of the worst days of the summer, as I recall. A childhood friend who was visiting from Oregon was reeling from the humidity and we went down to the dock in search of some relief. Even by the water there was little relief, but it felt just a bit better to look out at the blue water, the pale blue sky. It was a gorgeous day.

I’m still at it at 4:00 pm. I have to admit that I “skipped out” myself from shuffling papers to fiddle around with some photos, my website, and some design work. Back to the grind for at least a while longer today. But I keep wishing I was at the beach.