Saturday, February 25, 2006

Hey! It's a slide show!

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
Okay. All the Weekend Photos are up and viewable as a slide show here.

You know you wish you had a generator.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

There is a Billy Joel song for every occasion.

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
"Someday we will all look back and have to laugh/
We lived through a lifetime and the aftermath./

"This is the time, the time is going to change."

"This beach is so cold on winter afternoons..."/
I'm warm from the memory of days to come./"

Remote Camera Action

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
We asked a very nice lady to please take a photo of us with my mammajamma professional camera. She said, "Is it point-and-shoot?" And I said, "No, but I can make it as automatic as possible." That photo is nice, but I think I like this one better.

There *is* a method to the madness.

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
You know? My girlfriends are so used to me being Chunky Photojournalist Barbie that they don't even bat an eye when we get out of my car at the nice tourist destination lighthouse and I ask them not to make any sudden movements near the seagull until I get a picture of him.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Out of Sorts

Today I photographed three deer carcasses. It was awesome. Not.

I'm a little bit bad and sad right now. I don't know. I spent four days with five of my favorite people (photos on their way, I promise) and it was cold and good and honest and fun and loud.

We were supposed to stay in my dream house- which is a charming little cottage on my sister's in-laws' property in NH that is the perfect fit for my life right now. They have a little attic, a little basement, a decent sized bedroom, a tub you can soak in, a working fireplace, a full kitchen and satellite TV and a DVD player and a stereo and a one-car garage and frankly, I want to pack up my dog and my cat and my job and my life as it is and plunk it right down in a house just like this.

But we didn't end up staying in the cottage. When Alissa and I arrived, it was rather windy. We ran the doorbell at the big house, and we could see my sister's in-laws through the window. They were reading the newspaper, illuminated by reading lamps. They didn't move when we rang the doorbell. Not an inch. Oh-kay.

We decided to just walk down to the cottage, and as we crossed over the driveway, a sizeable branch fell behind us. It definitely felt like we had entered the Twilight Zone, where no one could see you or hear you or the sense of impending doom crescendos... and THEN! The lights in the cottage didn't work.

Alissa: Does the cottage need to be activated from a remote location?
Angie: Not that I know of, but maybe when I was here before it had already been activated...The hell?
(Both scream bloody murder as man in ski mask enters the cottage revving his chainsaw. Blood arcs across tastefully decorated mantel. Fade to black.)

Kidding! I called Amanda and she placed a conference call to her father-in-law and patched me in. Turns out the electricity was out due to the windstorm, but the big house has a generator that powers every third room, including the room where we could see them reading, but not the foyer with the doorbell.

Then, an even more unusual thing happened. I got... shy. I haven't been shy since the first day of kindergarten, or maybe this one time at Girl Scout Camp the summer after second grade where I was the designated "table hopper" and I couldn't understand a word the German counselor said (not even "Good job") and I got yelled at for using more milk than I needed and I cried and got to sit with my sister at every meal for the rest of the week.

But this weekend, I felt shy. My sister's in-laws are intimidating. They are Oh So Very Tasteful. We stayed in the big house for the next three days until the power came on, and it was really, really fun.

Now that I'm back, I feel so lonely for my sister/friends. Amanda and I talked, like, four times yesterday coping with the withdrawal. I came back down from the floatiness of vacation and cleaned the apartment and ran a lot of errands and paid bills. Mmmm.. sucky! I've been spilling things right and left and my best good work friend left today for And the deer carcasses? Not. Awesome.

I feel disconnected and disjointed. Nothing fits. It's like my life is a pair of jeans that shrunk in the dryer. I have to lay on the bed to zip my life up, but I'll walk around in it and do some deep knee bends and it will all feel familiar and good again soon. But for now, I'm kind of holding my breath.

That is all.

Aunt Kelly, save me!

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
My dog is not a fan of the bathing. She is so cute and sad when she's wet, and sometimes I call Kelly and inform her that Bella wants to run away from home and live in Ohio provided she never ever has to take a bath again. Heh.

So I had an amazing weekend in New England with my sister/friends. They remind me of who I was and who and how I want to be. I took a ton of photos, but they're on the other computer, so this wet puppy photo will have to hold y'all over.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Blogging Belatedly

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.

Hi. I meant to post this entry, like, six weeks ago. Oops.

The pets made out like bandits this year at Christmas. I love that my friends and family love them. I mean, I love them like crazy, and I buy them toys occasionally, but I'll tell the truth now...

Every year on Christmas, I gently cup their furry little faces in my hands and tell them that they have been given another 365 days of me feeding them expensive food (non-fart-inducing for Bella, non-hairball-inducing-indoor-cat-weight-control-formula for Fred), paying vet bills, scooping their poop and loving them unconditionally. I tell Bella she's been given another 365 days of walks (because really, if aliens are watching me walk behind her carrying her poop in a baggie, which do you think they think is the dominant species here?). I tell Fred I will try not to hold him in the confining clutchy way that he hates (aka the normal, gentle way you'd hold your cat; I'm not Lenny or anything) too often. That's their Christmas present from me every year.

Ah, but they got toys from lots of other people. Crinkly toys and bouncy toys and chasey toys and scratchy toys. (Thank you, lots of other people!)

Bella is a big fan of the toys. The other night she kept jumping out of bed to get just one more toy from the living room before falling asleep. "I want softy pink and purpley bone! I want realistic squirrel! I want tiny, fakey squirrel! Where's Monkey? Monkey is still my bestest one! Gotta get Monkey!" She was not ALL deterred by me pulling the pillow off my head to mutter, "Bella, Monkey won't be lonely in the living room because he has Party Dog to keep him company out there. No more jumping on and off the bed. Sleepy time now."

Yeah, no dice.

Fred on the other hand, he loves trash. He likes the plastic ring off milk jugs, he carries them around and puts them in his food dish. He likes caps to Unisol saline solution. Nothing gets my big white cat off his tush like a dropped saline solution cap. He didn't even break any Christmas balls this year. He just swatted two small durable ones off the bottom branches and placed one in my shoe and one in Joel's, like a freaky little feline version of a Germanic/Scandanavian Santa Claus.

So I went through the cat toys, new and old, deciding which we should keep and which should go to the less fortunate kitties at the best animal shelter I've ever seen, oh my god, they are awesome; give them money. Bella would play with everything, cat toys included, but there's always the fear that she'll choke on the sparkly little mice while running out to get Monkey AND Party Dog, because dammit, I had to go and remind her of Party Dog, didn't I? (Party Dog looks an awful lot like Monkey; he was a replacement for Monkey after an unfortunate beheading took place during a visit with a teething Gunner a few years ago. He's the same size and color, with ropes for appendages, but he's kind of doglike and he has a stuffed cone, like a birthday party hat, sewn onto his head. Shortly after that, an identical Monkey was procured, but Party Dog is still around.)

After half-heartedly chasing an orange ball around and showing passing interest in a few new toys, Fred went and played in a paper bag. For HOURS.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A Few Couples I Admire

Happy commercially exploitative and competitive Hallmark day! Call me a foot soldier in the War on Valentine's Day. Whatever. Nah, I'm not that cynical this year (I mean, scroll down, right? ;) Joel and I are exchanging cards and presents, but I don't need a holiday to tell him I love him.

But in an effort to remember the "reason for the season" (you know, even this parody of the 'I'll have a Merry Christmas, THANK YOU' people is making my mouth water with bile), I'm writing a few quick vignettes on Couples I Admire

(And Happy Engagement Anniversary to Cindy and Dave, whom I have neither photographed nor met in person. You're nice, too.)

Nikki and Jillian

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
These two lovely women have the most traditional "alternative" lifestyle you can imagine. I picked them as a "Couple I Admire," however, because they just... really love each other, I guess. Being around them, the way they share clothes and toiletries, it's so obvious that they're best friends and lovers and... and... wives, I guess. They nurture each other through migraines and exploding toilets. Yeah, the word "wives" sums it up pretty perfectly.

Harry and Judy

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
Yup, my parents. They seriously have given my sister and me a nest-eye-view of an expert example of marriage. I want to be very clear; they are role models of MARRIAGE, not of a Hollywood movie romance or a storybook fairy tale. The whole "sickness and health, richer or poorer, good times and bad" thing? They OWN it, and they live it every day.

No family's history is without struggle; we're certainly no exception. They're taking a third honeymoon for their 33rd anniversary in Tahiti this summer. They don't realize it, but when they're in a room together with lots of other people (like on the dance floor at a wedding reception), they always look like they're having more fun together than almost anyone else.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
She wasn't even mad when I fell over in the deep snow and stepped on one of her "wings."

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

More about Joel

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
On to more positive things! One thing I keep hearing from readers is requests for more information about Joel, which, it's true... I haven't posted any photos of him or us since Halloween and the suit of armor dominates that one photo, so.... Um.... Joel is patient, smart and nice! We have been dating for almost six months now.

I have shaved my legs and cleaned my apartment more in that time than any other period in my life. I have yet to fart in his presence. As far as he knows, my body does not do things like that. (I can hear College Roommate Jo laughing herself stupid all the way from Atlanta. I hope someone there can administer oxygen, like, soon.)

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
Joel is amazing with his friends' children. His paternal instincts make me look about as motherly as Samantha on Sex in the City by comparison, or you know, like that single friend who enjoys holding your baby until it cries. Then I start looking around desperately for a vase or ficus plant or something I can hide the child in until it stops. (I am kidding. I will never stash your child in a ficus plant. No promises about vases.)

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
But anyway, you're probably better off handing the kid to Joel. Just sayin.'
He is about as clumsy as I am, which is a little scary. Sometimes he has trouble finding things, which has only recently stopped being completely endearing. His male pattern blindness has been downgraded to Cute but Irritating in the Nicest Way Possible.

That said, he makes up for this by getting up in the middle of the night to help me find my Zip-loc baggie of medications that are NOT in my little travel bag for some reason because "GOD, we are celebrating a holiday with my FAMILY and if I don't find my meds, I may break a wine bottle and STAB SOMEONE." (I am kidding again. I would never do that. My family drinks the kind of wine that comes in a box.**) Joel even put on his geologist head lamp as he helped me look for the medications, which made me laugh.

**AND they are nice, loving people- Hi mom!)

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
In all seriousness, we make each other happy. He has made this next phase of my life more fun than I ever thought possible.

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
Most importantly, my dog loves him with the burning passion of a thousand suns, almost as much as she loves her monkey toy.

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
She may be plotting ways to keep him all for herself. If it seems as though that has happened, please look for me and Fred stashed in a large Oriental vase near you.

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Final Word

Bridezilla is not backing down, pretending she never officially hired me. This is the thing about the wedding business, all the magazine layouts of frothy tulle and vaseline-coated lenses tend to blur the fact that this is A BUSINESS. Some of my clients (SOME, I said; not you of course, everyone loves you) need to hear that I believe Their Special Day is the most unique, beautiful, and emotional experience that anyone has ever had the privilege to document, but there's a tremendous amount of work involved.

Depending on the couple, it's HARD WORK, and if she had only granted me the courtesy of a personal phone call and an apology when she cancelled, I probably would have been bummed about the money and then psyched that I had nothing else planned for the next 48 hours and could spend lots of time on my favorite hobby: napping.

I'm a big fan of napping.

Ultimately, I am not taking this chick to small-claims court over a cancellation fee, but based on what she told me about her Super Fabulous Life of the Demented and Delusional, you know what $500 would be to her? It would be like what I would spent on a bottle of water at an amusement park. You know how you're like, "$3.50 for water?!? You know, now I kinda wish I hadn't eaten that caramel corn and gotten all thirsty standing in line for the Flume. Oh well, my bad. ::: glug glug glug::::"

Sigh... Of course, my second-favorite pastime is fantasizing about zingers I could say to her. You should help me! It's fun. Amanda and I got started with a few of these:

"You took the time to email me your attorney's contact info on your wedding day? How sad for you."

"Okay! Thanks for the contact info! Hope your stupid wedding sucked!"

"This same attorney did your prenup, right? I get the feeling you're gonna need it!"

Gwen called me and told me she had $37 million dollars, and she'd like me to drop everything to shoot her wedding TOMORROW, with a warning that she'd call back in an hour and a half to screw me over, which was very, very funny. (Thank you.)

Here are a few more:

"I do freelance layout work, too, so when Honey McMoneybags trades you in for a younger, blonder model, do let me know. I have the *cutest* trophy wife clip art for your resume, should you find yourself needing to (gasp!) get a JOB."

"You know how I sounded all excited about your ability to get reservations at Snooty: The Restaurant for the post-wedding dinner? I was faking it."

Succumb to the petty side. You know you want to. Funniest comeback in the comments gets a prize.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Bridezilla Attacks

The parents of Langela Gindsay Aul
request the honour of your presence
at one o'clock in the afternoon
on Thursday, February the second,
two thousand and six
wherein you are all invited to bite her.

Well, folks, it has officially happened. I never thought I would encounter a wedding client who could screw me over more royally than the "Oompa Loompa Bride." If you've gotten me on the subject of "Why I Shoot Weddings, No Really, It's Worth It; but let me tell you about this one time!" for more than 15 minutes, you've probably heard the story of my Worst Bride Ever.

I call her the Oompa Loompa Bride, because- as I was describing her egregiously bad Bridezilla behavior to my very sympathetic friend Andrea- Andrea (herself a recovering wedding videographer) piped up in a spot-on impression of the bratty Veruca Salt from :Charlie and the Chocolate Factory:" I want an Oompa Loompa NOW!" It was so perfect that I fell over in peals of laughter- hence the nickname Oompa Loompa Bride.

This? Is worse. (Oh, and yes, it's worse than the time I was hired as the third photographer under the auspices of a high-end wedding photographer, and the trust-fund couple fed us the following: one airplane-sized bag of pretzels each, the crusty remains of room-temperature parmesan artichokes laden with bacteria from another event's buffet, and one can- and one can per person ONLY!- of WARM COKE. Gah.)

I was booked to cover a rehearsal dinner and wedding for a high-society bride this weekend. She was planning something "very simple and elegant." No florist, no musicians, no attendants, family only, famous NYC landmark location with dinner to follow at a restaurant that requires an audience with God to get reservations. They simply "changed their minds" and I am out a LOT of money. I was informed of this change in a three-sentence email. Best of all, THEY DID NOT APOLOGIZE, not even for the "inconvenience." I've been more polite when canceling reservations for Bella at a goddamn kennel.

Seriously, there is a special place in hell for brides like this. They all have to wear whatever atrocities they forced on their bridesmaids in a never-ending parade of humiliating scenarios, while a DJ plays nothing but the Macarena over and over again. Oh, and there's nothing to eat but airplane pretzels, artichokes with a side of e. Coli and ONE can of WARM COKE apiece, for all of eternity.

At the risk of de-emphasizing the importance of my previous entry, I offer the following public service announcement.

If you met the man of your dreams, don't be a bitch.
If you're PG and yer Pa says you gots to get hitched, don't be a bitch.
If someone slips a rock the size of a Ritz cracker on your finger, don't be a bitch.
If you decide you're not a diamond-wearing kind of girl and choose to get a tattoo on the ring finger of your left hand instead, don't be a bitch.
If you belong to an online community of brides-to-be, don't be a bitch.
If Vera Wang made your gown herself, don't be a bitch.
If your gown was made by a crackerjack team of slave children in a third world country who aspire to someday take a bathroom break, don't be a bitch.
If you made your gown yourself from pesticide-free cotton, threads you spun from the wool of your own alpacas and the most fairly-traded of beads, don't be a bitch.
If you plan a high-society wedding at an exclusive golf club that requires official documentation of your great-great-grandparents proof of passage on the Mayflower, don't be a bitch.
If your idea of "fancy" is tapping kegs of both Bud AND Bud Light for your reception at the local chapter of the VFW, don't be a bitch.
If you elope to Vegas, don't be a bitch to your flight attendant, cab driver or wedding chapel Elvis.

P.S. Why, yes, it IS 4 a.m., and I AM losing sleep, thank you very much.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Public Service Announcement

Found this on a friend's livejournal...

"A lot has been said about how to prevent rape.
Women should learn self-defense.
Women should lock themselves in their houses after dark.
Women shouldn't have long hair and women shouldn't wear short skirts.
Women shouldn't leave drinks unattended.
Fuck, they shouldn't dare to get drunk at all."

Instead of that bullshit, how about:

If a woman is drunk, don't rape her.
If a woman is walking alone at night, don't rape her.
If a women is drugged and unconscious, don't rape her.
If a woman is wearing a short skirt, don't rape her.
If a woman is jogging in a park at 5 am, don't rape her.
If a woman looks like your ex-girlfriend you're still hung up on, don't rape her.
If a woman is asleep in her bed, don't rape her.
If a woman is asleep in your bed, don't rape her.
If a woman is doing her laundry, don't rape her.
If a woman is in a coma, don't rape her.
If a woman changes her mind in the middle of or about a particular activity, don't rape her.
If a woman has repeatedly refused a certain activity, don't rape her.
If a woman is not yet a woman, but a child, don't rape her.
If your girlfriend or wife is not in the mood, don't rape her.
If your step-daughter is watching tv, don't rape her.
If you break into a house and find a woman there, don't rape her.

If your friend thinks it's okay to rape someone, tell him it's not, and that he's not your friend.
If your "friend" tells you he raped someone, report him to the police.
If your frat-brother or another guy at the party tells you there's an unconscious woman upstairs and it's your turn, don't rape her, call the police and tell the guy he's a rapist.
Tell your sons, god-sons, nephews, grandsons, sons of friends it's not okay to rape someone."

If you believe these things, post this on your own blog or pass it on.