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food

Black and White, Things I Hope My Kids Will Read One Day

I want to be just like the woman at the coffee shop when I grow up.

May 10, 2020

When I was around 20 years old and playing in a band full time, I would stop by the coffee and donut shop, near my apartment, after the gig. You’d always find me and several other regulars there, night after night, winding down from our “shifts” with coffee and a donut.

Or was that the reason we were there?

I knew that, for me, it was more about visiting with the woman behind the counter than it was for any coffee or donut — but oh the donut! The reason it was so good was that she knew I liked the maple glazed kind so, when she saw me coming in, she would take one and drizzle extra maple on it just for me. She’d greet me with a smile and a hug and tell me how happy she was to see me and then she’d always ask how the gig went? 

But here’s the best part.

She listened (really listened) to what I had to tell her. She’d laugh and smile her beautiful smile — I mean, who wouldn’t want that coffee and donut?! She made sure I knew I was special and she knew how special she was to me. Then one night, many nights into this coffee shop routine, I looked around the room and saw on the faces of others what I felt inside — welcomed and cared for — I mattered. If to no one else, I mattered to her and so did they. 

I listened to her conversations with them, as much as I listened to my own with her — this woman — this wise and beautiful woman was in her way…well, healing people from the inside out. Over the years I watched from across the room as laughter erupted, tears fell, and anger subsided. I don’t know what all the stories were about, but I do know they were made better by her. 

One person — one beautiful, wise, kind and caring woman — intently listening to people and making a difference in their lives.  What a gift! Making people feel…no, scratch that, making people understand that they matter and sometimes (by my observations) for the first time. I felt privileged to watch it happen. 

I was reminded of those times as I watched my mother from across the room, listening to my Yittle, just as beautiful as she was all those years ago in the coffee shop. Listening in that special way that she has always listened, and as I saw the look on my little girl’s face (a look I have seen on so many faces before), I felt privileged all over again. Privileged and grateful that my children have this beautiful woman in their lives to listen and listen well. 

Mom, in case I haven’t told you lately, you pour the best cup of coffee — ever. When I grow up, I want to be just…like…you.

Happy Mother’s Day — I love you.

 

I wrote this a few years ago, and it has now become a tradition to share it every year. To all the mothers — I hope your day is special and Happy Mother’s Day!  💐💝🌺

 

 

 

Black and White, Featured, iPhone

Struggling with your photography storytelling?

April 28, 2018

“We ate well and cheaply and we drank well and cheaply and we slept well and warm together and loved each other.”
– Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Pick up a good book.

It’s a fairly easy answer, but one I believe could make a world of difference to so many photographers struggling with their creativity. Think about it—if photography is storytelling, then you need to supply your imagination with many stories (tucked away in your sub-conscience) so that when the time comes to be creative, you have something to draw from. It is impossible for most of us to have lived enough really good stories, and even if we have lived some really good ones, even great ones, we only have our one lifetime to collect them. On top of that, how much of that life have we lived before becoming a photographer? However, if we read great literature, novels, and poems we can turn all those stories into a deep source for our own creativity. It’s similar to technically knowing how to operate your camera—you learned it well so that you don’t have to think about how to use it when you need or want to use it. In that same way, you will draw on the stories you have read (learned) when you go on to tell your photography stories. At the very least, it won’t hurt you, and you’ll have read some great books.

I wish you all the creative life you seek and I hope this helps some of you get a little closer. Have a great weekend everyone!

Kalebra

 

Featured, Moments, Things I Hope My Kids Will Read One Day

There’s so much more to these baskets of fruit than you can see in this photo.

June 25, 2017

You see, I have this sister, well, I have three of them actually, and a brother but this photo is because of one of my sisters but to tell you about her I have to explain that yesterday was my father’s birthday…

It was a special one as he (and his twin sister) turned 75. His children budgeted, planned, worked together and each of us took on a task to make the party happen — and a good time was had by all! Hahaha! That’s the short version so I can tell you about my sister, Cheryl, and her decorations. She wanted to take on the task of not only decorating but making all the decorations. I have no idea how many hours she spent, but when she showed me the salad bowl and told me she spent eight hours decorating (just it) I believe I said, “I would be buried with that bowl!” Hahahaha! She went with a country theme (as you might have guessed by the fruit baskets). She also had little serving dishes and baskets and trays and signs and banners and, and honest to goodness…

It is her art. She loves doing it (obviously) but it was a gift of love, and I just hope she knows how much I, we, appreciated it. Thank you, Cheryl, everything was beautiful — we all loved it!

A brother in law and sister in law volunteered to man the grill (on a very hot Florida afternoon) — THANK YOU! Parents and young ones watched over and swam with wee ones, some that used to be the young ones but now can be the ones catching and releasing in the lake with their young ones. The ones visiting from college and, thankfully, also doing all the heavy lifting, and my favorite part, the stories, and laughter that were shared around the table, around the pool, around the patio and just around. Dad and his sister each blew out a set of candles that read “75” because my son said, “They’re twins, but they’re still individuals.” ( I like that about him.) And they did it surrounded by a family that loves them. 💛

“It don’t get no better than this.” – Dad ☺️

Black and White, Featured, Moments

The best date nights…

May 21, 2017

The best date nights always have rain.

I love the rain and date night.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone and if you can remember, check back here tomorrow for something (a little) different. 😉

Black and White, Featured, Food and Drink, Moments

“Are you Grumpy Cat?”

April 8, 2017

Last night, around 9:00 p.m., I wandered up to my now favorite coffee bar and ordered a coffee. I couldn’t help but notice the brusqueness with which the man behind the counter took my order and “offered” some “advice” for the coffee I was taking away for someone else. I further paid attention to how he answered a woman who stopped to ask him for directions and when my young daughter and niece sat down at the counter (not realizing they were with me) I had to gently offer, “They’re with me” before he said something we’d have all regretted. Hahaha! I watched him for a few more sips and then became so intrigued by his grumpiness (he even managed to dry off the cups in a grumpy way) that I simply could not control my curiosity any longer and so I asked, “Are you Grumpy Cat?”

What happened next is what I love about people, about life, about coffee. Hahaha!

Grumpy Cat: “No, I’m Sleepy Cat.”

Me: Well, that explains it, Sleepy Cat can often turn into Grumpy Cat. Why so sleepy?

Sleepy Cat: “I have a 9 week old at home and I haven’t slept in nine weeks. I’m just tired. I apologize if I’ve been grumpy.”

Me: My hands immediately go into prayer position and I start to squeal with excitement (probably NOT what Grumpy/Sleepy Cat was hoping for) and I say, “First, congratulations! How wonderful! And, no wonder you’re so tired. Tell me, do you have one of those swinging bassinets?”

Sleepy Cat: “Actually, I do but…”

Sleepy Cat and I had a wonderful little chat and he wound up smiling (dare I say, giggling) and showing me photos of one of the most beautiful little nine week old babies you’ve ever seen. What an unexpected, awesome, cup of coffee. Now, Sleepy Cat, likely won’t remember me but I’ll remember him because he was once Grumpy Cat and when grumpy cats smile they have the most incredible smiles — the ones you never forget.

Have a great weekend everybody and if you happen to run into a grumpy cat remember he might just be a sleepy cat in disguise. Silly Sleepy Cat. 😽

Black and White, Featured, Travel

The edits I make are how I get you to sense me in my images.

April 3, 2017

For me, editing an image is personal, no matter how much (or how little) is involved I hope to do it in a way that makes you understand how I felt in that moment. More than anything else, I want you to feel it.

“We ate well and cheaply and we drank well and cheaply and we slept well and warm together and loved each other.” – Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Nice, France.