30 September 2008
These days I shoot with a zoom lens (usually a 24-70) pretty much all the time. For a change of pace I got out the fixed 50mm that I used in college. We weren't allowed to use a zoom lens until our upper level classes- the professors wanted us to learn how to "crop with our feet." I forgot how challenging a fixed lens was and how much the lens makes you pause and think about your composition since you can't just change it at the twist of your wrist. The light was so beautiful this morning that I just played around, shot pics of my girl and around the yard.
29 September 2008
I received this letter in my inbox this morning. It is a letter from a cancer mom to the world about Childhood Cancer Awareness month. If you want to help, look in my side bar and follow the link to sign the petition to get more money for Childhood Cancer research. The harsh truth is that no child is safe until a cure is found. Sorry for the downer, but this is important stuff.
September 28, 2008Have you seen a gold ribbon? Do you know what it stands for? Have you heard that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month?
I am the mother of a child living with brain cancer, a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. I finished breast cancer treatment on July 10th and flew from Michigan to West Virginia that day for the funeral of another child...a beautiful fourteen year old girl who lost her battle with the same rare brain cancer.
Everywhere I look I see pink ribbons, I feel gratefulness...and I feel anguish. According to an article published in the New York Times on September 22, 2008, as a result of advances in treatment “...98 percent of women with early-stage [breast] cancers survive at least five years….” Why is this true? Because we have banded together to raise awareness and funding for our mothers, our sisters, our aunts, and our daughters. Our children who are living with—and dying from—cancer desperately need that same attention...and funding.
Helen Jonsen, Forbes.com senior editor and mother of a child who recently underwent treatment for osteosarcoma, stated in a September 12th article, “Cancer is the No. 1 disease killer of children in the U.S. ...We tend to talk about it in hushed tones instead of screaming for help. But scream we should.” The article goes on to say, “The funding for pediatric cancer clinical trials has gone down every year since 2003, and is currently $26.4 million. By comparison, NCI funding for AIDS research was $254 million in 2006; funding for breast cancer topped $584 million the same year.”
September 13th was our nation's first Childhood Cancer Awareness Day. When I didn't see anything about it in the news—but I did hear about National Talk Like a Pirate Day a couple days later, I made some calls to our local news stations. For some reason I can't get the words of one of the story editors out of my mind. “So...what's your event?” Later…”Pitch me a story.”
Let's see...ummmm...would the deaths of 2,300 children each year be newsworthy? What about the diagnosis of 46 children each and every school day? What about the fact that only 2/3 of children diagnosed with cancer will survive? We could move on to funding. Is it newsworthy that for every dollar spent on a patient with prostate cancer, less than 20 cents is spent on a child with cancer...or that a patient with breast cancer has triple the research resource allocated to her when compared to a child?
When I mentioned that Child Cancer Awareness Day--and month--are a national thing, I was told, 'We put local news first.' Okay...I can handle that. A local event...I have a list of them.
The shock of a family receiving a breast cancer diagnosis on an October Monday afternoon, and taking their six-year-old to the Emergency Room on Thursday only to be told, “There is a large area of swelling in the brainstem; we suspect a mass.” We could always throw in the comic relief of the words, “My mom has a mass!” coming out of the mouth on that happy little face.
How about a mother leaving the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit late that night to go home because she knows she needs to get a good night's sleep before attending an Interdisciplinary Clinic early the next morning...where her own treatment plan will be recommended?
How about a local pastor, husband, and father being given the specifics of his son's grim diagnosis and prognosis in one hospital while waiting for news of the specifics of his wife's diagnosis and prognosis from the Cancer Center at another hospital?
How about an 11-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl being abruptly pulled out of the routine world of reading, writing, arithmetic, language, history and science as taught to them by Mom at home...and being thrown into a class on brain anatomy and abnormalities (specifically their little brother's) taught appropriately and compassionately by an MSU med school professor...who also happens to be their brother's new oncologist?
How about a six-year-old who finds himself no longer able to play the piano, the violin, or the cello because he has lost the strength on the left side of his body?
How about a mother waking up in her child's hospital room one morning, showering, and walking downstairs for her lumpectomy...while her husband takes over the duties of hospital parent and waits anxiously in his son's room for news of his wife's surgery?
Looking for a human interest story? Try the same mother moving back into the hospital early on a Sunday morning four days later so that her husband, a pastor, can be in church...only to watch in disbelief as her fun-loving, active six-year-old--determined not to have an accident--becomes too weak to sit up to go to the bathroom on a bedside commode. What about the willingness of that little boy to allow the nurses to help him even with the most private of things...because he knows his mother is recovering from surgery and he is concerned for her well-being?
Not sensational enough? Let's fastforward to Saturday, November 24th, 2007...two days after Thanksgiving. A mother sits in a hospital room with her sleeping son. She ends a phone call because she hears an alarm she has never heard before, an alarm letting the nurses know that her son's oxygen level is dropping. Soon the room is full, and it is determined that the child is disoriented, then staring ahead...completely unresponsive. Somehow everyone moves with the child on that bed through the hallways to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit where the intensivist begins the work of saving a precious life. Aside, the question parents never want to hear, though one that must be asked, “Given his prognosis—do you want us to resuscitate him, if necessary?” The father, who has just arrived, breaks down in the unbelievable stress of the moment. The mother realizes the urgency of the situation, pushes emotions aside, and asks, 'Do we know what is happening?' The answer is no. 'Then, yes, we want you to do everything you can for him.' She stands at the foot of the bed with one of her son's oncologists. Together, they watch the PICU team work...with purpose...like a machine. The mother steps outside the room only when the child is intubated. The drama continues, as the entire department revolves around that one room...that one little boy.... The eyes of those outside the room...every nurse, every resident, every doctor...are looking in the same direction. The parents sign permissions as they are handed to them, and the work goes on. Everything seems to be happening in slow motion. Finally, the intensivist approaches. The child is critical, but stable...on life support....
I have just highlighted the first month of our new life in the pediatric cancer world. I am aware of five precious children who died last week—within five days—as a result of just one type of rare cancerous brain tumor, the same as my son’s. Skyler...Adam...Mara...Brynne.
Please, join the effort to raise childhood cancer awareness. Show your support by wearing a gold ribbon, and by making the issue an important topic of conversation. Distribute copies of this letter in your place of employment, in your place of worship, and in your community. Contact government officials, and express your concern.
A decade ago, we noticed a person wearing a pink ribbon on a t-shirt or lapel. It didn't take long for pink ribbons to raise breast cancer awareness in the public eye, and to mobilize our society to action. I hope that in 10 years gold ribbons will be as common as pink ribbons...and that the survival rates for pediatric cancers will be comparable to those for breast cancer. With your help, it will happen...one gold ribbon at a time.
With Hope for Our Children,
Breast Cancer Survivor & Mother of a Child who is Battling Brain Cancer
25 September 2008
24 September 2008
23 September 2008
I finally made Alton Brown's Overnight Cinnamon Rolls. Oh my goodness.
These guys are a bit labor intensive, which is why the recipe has been in my binder for a year without being made. All of the work was worth it. I shall never make cinnamon rolls from a can again. Well, maybe not never again, but I will never enjoy them again. Cinnabon has nothing on me! I can now make that cinnimony, cream cheesey goodness whenever I please (and have the forethought to start the dough process at 9 pm the night before.)
Another nice bonus of the recipe is all that icing. I only glazed my rolls, so I had about half a cup of the icing left. My husband and daughter discovered that the icing makes an amazing fruit dip! It also goes well in devil's food cake. I made the icing in a pinch this weekend to cover a cake that didn't turn out as I had hoped. Saved the cake!
In an effort to make everything look a bit more organized, the Theater Department over at NKU is starting to have a single photographer take the individual cast member's photos instead of gathering head shots (of varying quality) from everyone. Here are a few of them. A bit too much like taking school photos for my taste, but I think the overall effect will be a nice, clean and uniform display. I can't wait to see them on the wall. I am shooting Of Mice and Men tonight and I can't wait.
I used my Spiderlites on this shoot and the cast loved them. No strobe popping in your face and no heat (as if getting your picture taken isn't stressful enough) makes sitting under these lights a nice experience. I also love that since the light is continuous the pupil shrinks, really making the color of the eyes show through.
22 September 2008
16 September 2008
11 September 2008
Then two hours later when all of my classes were canceled, a very pregnant me rushed home to lay in the recliner and watch CNN all day. As I watched buildings fall, people run, and a number at the bottom of the screen climb higher and higher, I started to wonder what kind of a world I was bringing a new life into.
Seven years later I see that day for what it was. A day when the very worst and the very best of humanity showed itself. On that day we as humans showed just how much love we are capable of. We showed that we can become heroes, risk our lives - give our lives - to save others. We saw that we are capable of being a true community: one in which we take the well being of our neighbors on as our responsibility, to see them as the family they are. That is what I am thinking about today- my extended family and how to get us back to the overwhelming love and kindness of that day.
08 September 2008
At first I was actually happy to hear the teacher's diagnosis. Finally an answer. Now I am sitting here crying, thinking about all of the work that lies ahead. My friend is about to enter into a whole new world as a parent of a child living with a special challenge: re-learning how to communicate with her son, doctor's appointments, therapy. All of that on top of taking care of two other kids. (If you are reading this, my friend - I am here to help. I am in it for the long haul - you are not alone. I love you!)
Little Buddy needs help. My buddy is about to be faced with certain people who will not understand him (nor care to) in a world that wasn't built for him. It has all become personal. It isn't someone I have heard about or a child in a documentary - it is my best friend's boy. A child I have loved since the day he was born. I held him within hours of that birth. Hell, I was practically at the birth since she made phone calls all the way up to the pushing part!
So I am dealing with a lot of bittersweet feelings. I guess I should really take my cues from my very brave friend. I asked her what she felt.
She is finally going to know how to help her son. She will finally get the help she needs with him in a way that is constructive for him. I guess I should look at this as a learning experience. I will learn an awful lot about autism and friendship.
Class is in session.
04 September 2008
03 September 2008
I am very excited about this show. The actors in the lead roles are amazing and the director will infuse this story with the sensitivity it will take to make it move past the classic we are all too familiar with and into the realm of a moving piece of theater.
This play was all I had hoped for - a good Irish drama. It is about the nuances and complications of modern relationships, with a bit of a ghost story thrown in. The show is simply staged but brilliant. The entire show takes place inside one location: a therapist's office. This allows for the set (which is quite nice) to fall away to give the actors center stage (no pun intended) to do what they do best - tell a story. Brilliantly acted, I was spellbound. I forgot I was supposed to be taking pictures several times!