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293rd Friday Blog Roundup

I was at a blogging event in DC and I received a ticket for a free half hour session with a professional photographer.  It’s kismet that I also need a head shot for the new book as well as a brochure for a speaking event so I wrote her the day after the event to book my session.

Holy fucking Christ, she made me look so pretty.

I don’t think I photograph particularly well, especially when I’m conscious that there’s a camera pointed at me.  But Mary immediately put me at ease.  Her studio is in this gorgeous converted mill that I always knew existed but had never visited.  It is this fantastic space with antique velvet furniture.  If it had been socially acceptable, I would have wanted to curl up on one of the couches and read.

But I wasn’t there to read–I was there to get this head shot done.  The head shot for the first book was taken by Josh after I had stepped out of the shower.  We were on our way to run errands or eat sushi and I let my wet hair out of my bun, plopped down on some nearby steps, and he snapped the picture.  And I was fine with that in the same way that I was fine back when my blog layout was that free version provided by Blogger.  And then suddenly, one day I woke up and realized just how hideous my blog looked and how aesthetics do matter to an extent.  The same thing happened with my head shot, especially in regards to the book.  If I’m going to take a year and a half to craft a book (especially with all of those damn deadlines and late nights), I should put a little effort into even the head shot.

So Mary started moving me around the room, taking pictures in different types of light, on different pieces of furniture, talking to herself from time to time as she saw a shot she liked on the camera.  And I have to admit that I had low expectations because while she may have liked the shot, I think I look more like Frankenstein doing a fear grimace in most pictures of me.  But at one point, she flipped around the camera so I could see and it was incredible.  The woman in the frame looked polished and mature and relaxed and happy.

It finally clicked with me why I should have shelled out the $150 (that’s all it costs to get a head shot–$150!) two years ago.  The difference between a picture snapped by your husband on a point-and-shoot vs. a photograph artfully arranged by a professional photographer is day and night.

It will take two or three weeks to get my head shot back and when I do, I’ll post it on my blog and on the new book site.  But peruse her other photographs on her photo blog.  Isn’t her work amazing?  If you live in the D.C./Baltimore area, Love Life Images does amazing work.  You know how Josh brings out the best in me?  Well Mary captured that best in me on film–somehow, she got it to come out and caught it in a snap shot.


I am still participating in Crystal Light’s Pure Fitness Challenge and I’m giving away a $100 gift card on my review blog.  Read and leave a comment to enter.


22 months ago, I brought the twins to school for the first time and found myself unable to leave the building.  I hid in the library at the back of the school for…a while.  I will not admit to how many days I spent at the school.  The point is that Allison knew how impossible this moment was, how it brought back that screaming-on-the-inside (and in my case, also screaming-on-the-outside) feeling of leaving your child in the NICU and she offered to remain on the phone with me while I walked outside.

22 months later, we were out celebrating at a graduation dinner when I got word that Allison gave birth to beautiful and perfect Olivia Moonpie (fine, not her real name, but damn that’s a good nickname).  It was this strange symmetry of beginnings and ending, with school and now with this new life.  And I think the entire restaurant must have thought our table was crazy over the way we cheered as I read the message.

Congratulations, Allison, and may the first days be sweet days.


The Weekly What If: What if you had to get stuck on an amusement park ride (choose your amusement park from Disney to a boardwalk funhouse) for 8 hours, but the ordeal would grant you lifetime free admission to the park as well as a spot on a late night talk show to discuss the ordeal which leads to a book deal.  Which ride would you choose to get stuck on and ride in an endless loop?


And now, the blogs…

Mom to Twins Plus One has a post (fine, it was last Thursday, but I didn’t read it until Friday, so I’m counting it as part of this week) about two losses in her family, but namely, her great uncle.  Her great aunt and uncle were unable to have children, so with his death, her great aunt loses her entire nuclear family.  While there are obviously other people in her aunt’s extended family–Solaris for one–she writes of the loss, “There really are no words to console her, she lost her love, her family, suddenly and sadly. She only wants to be with him and who can blame her.”  It is a heartbreaking post.

Baby, Borneo or Bust has a post about her move.  It was her last night in her old house and she wistfully writes, “It’s our last night in this room where we created her…our last night in this room where my water broke, where she and I spent much of those early months, coccooned in from the winter weather and the world.”  I don’t do well with change, so I read her post with my heart in my throat.  It’s a move that comes with possibly even more endings, and the post is brief and beautiful.

Braving IVF has a post about a dream that is followed by fresh bleeding after her D&C.  I cried when she wrote, “he said my dream was our little girl saying goodbye. (A week later, this still makes me tear up.) We’re not religious in the slightest, but I think he was right. My body realized it was letting go of the last little bit of her, and gave me that dream.”  It is an incredibly moving post.

Lastly, Once a Mother has a post about trying to wrap her mind around her daughter’s death.  She describes this feeling of powerlessness as “I feel like a pawn, anxiously awaiting whatever move the universe doles out for me next, and it’s terrifying.”  The part that made my heart break is her description of the scent of the soap.  You will not be able to read this post without crying too.

The roundup to the Roundup: A professional photographer takes my head shot.  Read my blatherings to win a $100 gift card.  Huge congratulations to Allison.  Answer the Weekly What If.  And four sad blog posts to read–perhaps creating a quiet sort of mood.


1 Kristin { 06.18.10 at 9:32 am }

I think, if I had to be stuck on a ride for 8 hours, I would pick Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s fun. I might finally be able to see EVERYTHING in there. It’s nice and cool even on the hottest day. And, it’s freakin’ Disney!

2 a { 06.18.10 at 9:38 am }

My all-time favorite ride was at Six Flags – Great America. It used to be called Willard’s Whizzer (I don’t know why). I could ride that one all day. For me, it was kind of relaxing – no crazy drops, just lots of speed and sideways turns. I’d pass on the talk show, but I could probably make it into a decent book. I once wrote a three page opus on a 5 minute event (I found a mouse in my locker in high school). Imagine what I could do with 8 hours!

3 HollyT { 06.18.10 at 10:18 am }

I would choose the swings. They were always my favorite and the least harmful, just go round and round. Can’t wait to see the head shot. Sounds great.

4 Elizabeth { 06.18.10 at 10:30 am }

Just the thought of riding an endless loop makes me want to throw up. Too much like my life in general… No deal here!

5 Elizabeth { 06.18.10 at 10:31 am }

P.s. Can’t wait to see the head shot!!!

6 Erika { 06.18.10 at 10:49 am }

Oh, this what if is easy for me this week! I would pick to ride Soarin’ over California at Disney’s California Adventure. By far my favorite ride that I love riding over and over. It relaxes me. Weird, I know, but it does. Plus I love being in that park!

7 Jendeis { 06.18.10 at 11:19 am }

I’d have to throw out lots of rides because of the motion sickness. Do you get food and access to a bathroom, or do you have to starve and hold it? Am I overthinking this? I think I could do Chocolate World without throwing up. I bet “It’s the Milk Chocolate” is already in your head now — you’re welcome. 🙂

8 Melissa G. { 06.18.10 at 12:40 pm }

Ugh, I get vertigo now, so I can’t do any of the death-defying coasters that I deeply loved as a child. So I’m going with Pirates of the Carribean at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA. That park is one of my husband and my favorite places to go (when we have the $) And after we run like monkey’s down Main Street, Pirates is ALWAYS the first ride we go on. Always.

Can’t wait to see your head shots Mel!

9 HereWeGoAJen { 06.18.10 at 1:39 pm }

I think Living with the Land at Epcot or possibly the PeopleMover at the Magic Kingdom. Both are nice and calm. Plus the Land has the benefit of having bananas within reach of the boat.

10 Nichole { 06.18.10 at 2:09 pm }

I would choose the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland in California. For a couple of reasons:
1. It is close enough to where I live to really use and enjoy the lifetime admission
2. It is kind of scary, but fun and exhilarating at the same time
3. I have only been on the ride once when I was like 10 and it made me pee my pants. I am still humiliated by that and I would like to prove to myself and the ride – that I am bigger and better than that. 🙂

11 Meg { 06.18.10 at 4:55 pm }

I would choose the Lazy River ride at a water theme park. You know – where you are laying in an inner tube drifting around the “circle” that the Lazy River makes. That would be wonderful. And I echo everyone’s sentiments about looking forward to seeing the head shot!

12 queenie { 06.18.10 at 9:13 pm }

You totally made me cry when I saw this. IThis os a good thing, but hard nonetheless. My ride would be the Men in Black ride where you get to shoot the monsters. It’s in Orlando, but I can’t rmemeber if it’s at Universal or MGM. I have a funny pic of my husband and I on it. I’m so competetive that I wanted to do it over to improve my score. I bet I’d be really good after a whole day of it!

13 queenie { 06.18.10 at 9:21 pm }

Hmmm…the blog eats my comments lately when I comment via phone. I meant to say, this MOVE is a good thing, but hard. You made me cry because moving is isolating and endings are hard for me, too, and it was so nice to have someone hear me. Can’t wait to see your photos, and loved the stuff on the photog’s website-bet your jacket photo is going to be amazing.

14 luna { 06.19.10 at 12:24 am }

um, so when can we see an advanced pic?!

the roundup theme this week seems to be loss, no?

15 Battynurse { 06.20.10 at 2:25 am }

The ride I’d choose to be stuck on for 8 hours?? Soaring over California at the California Adventure park. Pirates of the Carribean at Disneyland would be a really close second choice though. But then in all honesty I don’t know that there are very many rides at Disneyland that I wouldn’t mind getting stuck on. Except maybe the Hollywood tower of terror thing.

16 Bea { 06.21.10 at 6:37 am }

Love to see the head shot.

Heartbreaking list today, Mel.


17 Waiting Lisa { 06.21.10 at 10:16 am }

I can’t wait to see the new head shot.

I wouldn’t mind spending a day stuck on Grizzly Run, which is one of the rides where you go around on a track with water and you end up getting wet b’c you go through water falls, etc. Or something simple like a lazy river- a tube on water going in a big circle.

18 Kristy Kellog { 06.22.10 at 8:15 pm }

Good ol’ Grizzly run.. good memories there. Hey cool blog. I hope you’re ok with my recommending it in the about forum I frequent.

19 flying monkeys { 06.24.10 at 10:23 am }

What an emotional list of posts to read.

I can’t wait to see the head shot!

20 Baby Smiling In Back Seat { 07.03.10 at 12:49 am }

Hey, I am so behind on reading your blog that in the time it took me to read this post, the photos were processed! I just clicked over to Mary’s blog and saw some shots of you, posted earlier today. They look fantastic, and she totally captured your essence — esp. in the laughing one.

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