Monday, August 11, 2008

Friday, August 8, 2008

Cesca- Photo




Just got back from a fashion shoot in LA - had a fantastic time! I'm now slammed with editing, so no chance for any catch stories to regale you with, so photos it will have to be - but these should provide some entertainment!
This is Fancesca Cavalli. (Cesca, Robert, Dyhandra - I will continue to post more as we get them done today).

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Well, I've been AWOL

I'm sorry, guys - its hard for me to keep up with work and all this - but here';s my latest column

Fast Black

When I travel for work, I am normally accompanied by my oldest son, who happens to be exceptionally tall and in extremely good shape. It’s sort of like having a personal bodyguard with you at all times. I’m used to this and it’s created a tendency in me to go anywhere that strikes my fancy and talk to anyone I feel like.
Its easy to feel free when you have Brawno the Brave standing next to you looking down on whomever I’ve become psychologically fascinated with at that particular moment. He’s used to my adventurous tendencies. His brother, however, is not.
This last trip to Texas, my youngest son, Brandon, came with me to assist. After we checked into the hotel, I decided to wander around and see the sites. Right behind the hotel, I found a river that had cool little pathways winding around it, bridges, all sorts of neat stuff and I was drawn like a moth to a flame. About two minutes after we sat down to drink our beer, I noticed a lot of other people sort of silhouetted under the bridge. One of them noticed that I was smoking and came to bum a cigarette. This is how we met Fast Black (I’m not kidding). When he found out we were from San Francisco (you can’t explain Middletown to people like Fast Black – SF is easier, trust me) he engaged Brandon in a rousing discussion on Rappers and demonstrated some of his own talents for us.
Pretty soon others began to gather around and I decided I wanted to photograph these guys. Brandon was not so sure that bringing my camera into this situation was the best of ideas, but I had a plan. I had Fast Black walk us to the liquor store. This was quite a journey in and of itself, stepping over people’s beds, avoiding the random needle, watching two people squabble over the dregs of a bottle, things like this. For me this was good material, for Brandon, who happens to be a bit more realistic about things than I am, this was alarming. On the way we picked up T-Bird who decided to help Fast Black navigate me through “the jungle”. This was probably a good thing as my cigarettes had been spotted and I was beginning to feel reminiscent of the Pied Piper with a trail of drug addicts falling behind me.
I bought a case of Bud and two packs of Marlboros and returned to the Jungle with it. The idea was to hand out the beer and smokes to anyone who would let me photograph them. It worked great at first. Needless to say, we were quite popular. Fast Black was very proud to be involved in this and was orchestrating my photo shoot like an old pro. Within seconds we had quite the crowd. And I must say, they turned out to be wonderful subjects and quite a group of hams, actually. Brandon was dolling out the beer and smokes, I was clicking away, and then we came down to the last beer. That was when the Switch Blade came out. Fast Black was in this guy’s face within a second and I was pretty sure this guy was all noise. I started to scold him in my best mommy fashion, but as I was doing this, a hand was on the back of my shirt, dragging me, backwards, up the steps to the Sheraton.
“Mom? Are you OUT of your mind? Seriously, are you? You could have gotten us killed!”
“Oh, we were fine. Besides, they were interesting to photograph.”
“I see. Here we are in a beautiful city, full of beautiful people, and you want to shoot the crack heads. Great. Please tell me that you wouldn’t have done that alone. Tell me, mother.” I assured him that I wouldn’t have, but nonetheless he wouldn’t let me out of his site after that, apparently convinced that if he turned his head, I was going to go racing back under the bridge to finish making my point to Mr. Switch Blade.
The next afternoon we were downtown having a beer in a Brandon Approved environment and my girlfriend called me to tell me she had booked my flight to Chicago.
“Cool! Hey, how far are we from Detroit? Sinead wants me to hop up there for a couple days to shoot.”
The fall out was immediate. Brandon spits out a mouthful of beer and chokes out the word “Detroit”. He’s gone white and his eyes are as big as silver dollars. “MOM! You are NOT going to Detroit! I absolutely forbid it! Fast Black is one thing, mom, but those guys in Detroit are not to be messed with! Those guys carry guns, mother. GUNS! Promise me you will not go to Detroit!” It was beyond funny. My girlfriend could hear him and was howling with laughter on the phone and no amount of anything could convince him that my purpose in going to Detroit was not to head down dark alleyways at midnight looking for gang members.
“Fast Black used to live in Detroit. Maybe he could hook me up with someone to show me around.”
I shouldn’t have said that. “What? Are you crazy? You are not going back under that bridge to talk to Fast Black, mom. I won’t have it.”
“I don’t have to go under the bridge. I have his address.”
“WHAT?! When did you get his address?”
“When he was showing me his gun shot wounds. I got it to send him the photos, of course.”
“Gun shot wounds?” He orders a shot of whiskey. “Gun shot wounds. Of course. Oh yes. The perfect person to tour you around Detroit. That’s wonderful, Mom. Good plan.”
He decided to tattle to his brother who did not help the situation at all. “He has a point, mom.”
“You aren’t seriously telling me that you think I would go looking for bad guys in Detroit, are you?”
“Mom, I don’t think you would go looking for them. But I’m pretty sure you would manage to find them without looking for them. You do this kind of thing everywhere we go, Mom. Remember all the homeless guys in Sacramento? How about Seattle, Mom, when you decided to take every street person’s photo holding your stuffed pink dragon? And what about Switzerland, mother? How you managed to find a crowd of low-lifes in a city like Zurich is still beyond me, but you did it. Brandon has a point, Mom. I’m not so sure Detroit on your own is such a good idea.”
It’s very difficult to win when they gang up against me. So I promised I would not go to Detroit alone. They were both pacified with that. What they missed was the word “alone”. Now I just have to figure out which one of them I’m taking with me.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Story - Blast from the Past

A Blast from the Past
I am dating a member of the Walton Family. And the Walton’s, as you know, have many gatherings. This latest gathering was a camping trip by the American River. It was a beautiful, peaceful setting right next to the river that was going by calmly and serenely when we arrived late Friday.
Somewhere around 6 AM Saturday I hear this tumultuous roar and the river is no longer calm, but raging. I marveled at what was clearly a level three (or four) rapid below me. Apparently, they open the damn in the morning to get this river really going for rafting trips. And, apparently, Boyfriend and the younger set are all going. Ten minutes later, I’m informed I’m going too. What?
Have you ever done anything as an adult that you used to love doing as a child and wondered what ever possessed you to do them? Like eating S’mores? When I tried one as an adult, I nearly gagged. Climbing trees is another adult bozo no-no. Up is no problem; down is another story. Over forty jump roping became a near-death experience for me, and belly flops over the age of ten are a very, very bad idea. Skate boarding is also now out, as is the trampoline (just plain ugly) and drooling over the likes of David Cassidy. Things change. Do I grasp this concept? Apparently not, because what came out of my mouth was, “Cool! I haven’t been white water rafting for years!!” (“Years”, Sharon, check on the word “years” – it could serve to be key!)
They say that we forget pain. Which must be true or none of us would go on to have a second child. Cold is pain. I forgot about the part where rushing rivers never warm up and was immediately frozen solid upon getting in the raft in my little helmet and big life jacket. We sit through our safety lecture, learning things like how to position ourselves if we should fall out of the raft so that we can float down the river safely and use our legs to fend off the rocks. Alrightie then, I’ll be sure to do all that while I’m freaking out completely! I’m praying that this is an extreme case situation and not the norm on this river.
Then our guide announces that we are going to do something called “surfing”, which is really “fun”. This good time amounts to maneuvering the raft below a rock where water is rushing back in on itself, sitting down in the boat and holding on for dear life while the thing tips one direction to another, nearly flipping over and saturating you with ice cold water. I kept getting hammered by the waterfall and by the time he pulled us out of there, laughing with the maniacal glee I often associate with young, testosterone ridden males, I was sputtering like a cat. The equally youthful Walton’s were all over it when he suggested a repeat performance, but I was not so sure. I opted for a quick drop-off on the shore to “watch”, but was instantly met with a barrage of “Oh, come on, Sharon!”, “You can do it, Sharon!” and “Don’t be such a wuss, Sharon!” Boyfriend’s youngest daughter even offered to trade places with me after I brought up the whole drenched-by-waterfall issue and for a moment I almost succumbed to peer pressure. Then I remembered that people 25 years younger than me do not qualify as peers, so I pulled the Almost Fifty Card and got out. Off they went.
I’m here to tell you that this thing looks as harrowing as it feels. There they were, tipping precariously to the left and to the right, while the guide was doing the “yeehaw” thing and giving me the thumbs up. And then the youngest daughter was gone. Simply gone. I watched in horror until she finally reappeared on the opposite side of the boat, stuck in that darn waterfall. Of course they can’t pull her out there, or they will all wind up in the river, so she has to swim in sub-zero water, eyes as wide as Texas, until they can rescue her.
I looked at her in awe when they picked me up. “That would have been you!” she says to me. I’m quite aware of that fact. Fortunately it wasn’t me, because I doubt I would have been recounting the episode with the same excitement and pride that she was. There probably wouldn’t have been much pride involved when I burst into tears and proceeded to get back on the bus and abort the mission. But she’s a trooper and was laughing and slapping high-fives with her cousins as we set off down the river.
Golly! A whole ten minutes into the trip and so much to talk about already. The only upside of being soaking wet was that it was impossible for anyone to differentiate between the water on my face and the beads of sweat that were breaking out.
Another thing that I had apparently forgotten was my mother telling me, “Avoid the back end of the boat”, because here I was, in the very back of the boat next to the guide. Its tricky back there, because you can’t hook your feet the same way, and you can only hook one foot or you risk tossing the guide out of the raft, and, well, that would suck. He demonstrates how “easy” it is to just hook one foot and lean waaay out of the boat to use your oar, and how you can actually lift your other leg right up in the air and still keep your balance. Isn’t that nifty? By our second rapid he learned that me trying that wasn’t such a hot idea as I suddenly became airborne and he had to abandon guiding in the name of grabbing my life jacket to ensure I returned inside the boat instead of outside the boat. The boat did a full 180 at that point and we had to take a rapid backwards, but it was better than doing the darn thing solo, if you ask me.
After awhile I got back into the swing of it and was having a good time until I foolishly asked where we landed. Back at the campground, isn’t that convenient? Back at the campground on the other side of that crazy rapid I saw this morning? Yes, the crazy rapid that they named “Troublemaker”. Well, I figured if I could survive things like “Hospital Bar”, “Triple Threat”, and “Meat Grinder”, I could probably survive “Troublemaker”. If not, at least the swim would end near my towel.
I did survive Troublemaker, mostly due to another quick rescue from our guide, and I got out of the raft as enthusiastic and excited as everyone else. And that right there is just plain weird. If anyone tells you that you will find sheer terror and freezing cold to be an absolute blast, you would probably question their sanity, but there you have it.
After I finally regained the use of my frozen legs, I walked down to the edge of darling Troublemaker to sit in the sun and watch the other maniacs attempt this thing. After watching a large number of people go flying out of their rafts when doing this, I realized we must have been pretty good to have all stayed in. I must say I felt pretty darn proud of myself right about then. Not too shabby for a middle-aged chick.
That night by the campfire, however, I did draw the line when offered a S’more. After all, some things are better left in the past, right?

Photo - Leslie



Leslie and George! Here you go - your site will be up this morning at www.thedawsonstudios.com/les/les.htm
Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Photo - Brandon Dawson



Yea!!!! My baby came home to see me!!! He's so handsome, looks just like his mother. LOL

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

photo - Jillian and Chad






Hi you guys! How is Fiji? I'll post more later, and write more - but I'm on deadline for my column today. LOVED the wedding, you are wonderful people to be with! I hope you are having a fabulous, well-deserved honeymoon!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Photo - Brayden


This is Braydon. What a cutie. I couldn't believe how expressive and interactive he was at only 6 weeks, but after watching the parents interact with him, I could see why. You are great parents, Jennifer and Brandon, you should be very proud of this little guy. Thank you for such a lovely afternoon.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Opinion - My thoughts on the Economy

I seldom leave my house these days, partially due to the garden, and partially due to the fact that I don’t have the $219 for enough gas to get to Lower Lake. But on the occasion that I do wander downtown for a bit of social time, it seems to me that the conversation inevitably turns to the economy (or lack there-of). The hard times aren’t just hitting the little guy – they are hitting everyone. And while the government has just gotten around to admitting we “may be” in a recession, the people are wondering if this isn’t the beginning of a depression.

I turned to the older generation to ask them if this was possible. Everyone told me no, it wasn’t, because the government had “safeguards” in place to prevent it. However, no one seemed to know exactly what those “safeguards” were. I decided to find out.

First, I called the bank, to see what they knew. Apparently the FDIC loan was a big safety measure. What that means is that if you have up to (but not over) $100,000 in a bank account and the banks go down the government will pay you your money back. Really? Our government? With what? According to them, they don’t have any money either! Let’s hope if they do have the money, they move faster than the car insurance people. And who has 100K in the bank, anyway? I don’t. I guess they could swing my $55 easily enough. But it doesn’t matter if the government can pay us back or not because the way things are going, nobody is going to have any money left in the banks to insure!

So I decided to do a search on-line. Stupidly enough, I typed in the word “depression”. After two thousand pages of websites ready to script me out on Prozac, it occurred to me to type in “Economic Depression”. Site after site showed me discussions and concerns about the situation and the word “safeguards” kept coming up, but no details. It took me a long time to dig it up and even then it wasn’t easy to figure out.

Mind you, I am far from an economist; I can’t even balance my checkbook, so bear in mind this is just what I was able to learn and only my opinion. But check this out: another “safeguard” is that they will shut down the stock market if it starts to crash. Phew! I’m feelin’ safe now! I can see where it would help major corporations, but I’m unclear on how it helps the people. Let’s see, I loose my job, as does all my family, due to our economy, so I run through the 100K in my bank account, and turn to the stock market to pull out my money. As most of the country is in the same boat, this happens all around the same time and they shut the damn thing down. So Wal Mart is safe, but I can’t get my money to feed my family. Wonderful. But no matter, because I don’t have the 100K and I don’t have any stocks. Anything else?

Then I read about a very important aspect that was put in place to protect us. It is called the Glass Stegal Act. The best I could understand was that this was designed to prevent banks from giving “frivolous” loans and mortgages and to keep them from charging exorbitant fees and interest rates. Now this one could surely protect the little guy, but oh dear, it seems this safeguard was abolished in “recent” times. Well, that went swimmingly, didn’t it? I can’t figure out if that maneuver was the result of arrogance or sheer stupidity, but the results were just super. So tell me again how we aren’t in danger of going into a depression, Mr. President? Because we are dying out here. Between the credit card companies going completely INSANE on us and everyone loosing their homes, a gallon of gas costing more than half an hour of minimum wage and a damn cucumber costing $2, I’m thinking things could be a bit better over here in Real People Land. He’s even messed up the old “Rich Get Richer” thing – they aren’t lovin’ the moment EITHER!

So, I started thinking about what I would do if I was president, and the first thing that came to my mind was the obvious – stop putting money we don’t have into this war-that’s-not-really-a-war because we are going to need it to pay off those FDIC loans. So WHAT if we look bad to other countries by up and leaving? Personally, I think we look like idiots for not! Look what is happening to the dollar! He’s got issues with Mexican people coming into this country to work? Well, he’s solved that one – in about another week the American Dollar will be worth half the Mexican Peso. WE will be going down THERE to make a living. (Let’s hope they are kinder to us then we’ve been to them!) One man’s pride is not enough justification for all this and the not-war isn’t helping. All we are doing is pissing off other oil producing countries and the prices are going up, up, up. This brought about another thing I would do if I were president, I would open up our own oil supplies for a bit. Give the country a break – cut the damn prices in half.

I asked about this. Apparently, we are “saving” our oil. Saving it? For what? A rainy day? Well, if We-the-People are having to dip into our savings just to feed ourselves, then They-the-Government might consider doing the same thing. I guess the idea is that we are using up other country’s oil first, so that when they run out they’ll have to come to us. I sure hope the other countries think to look for us under our bridges because that is where we will all be living!

Obviously, I’m not president. But I am a person in this community and I do have some ideas on how we can help each other since the government seems to be a tad remiss. First of all, if you are having trouble, don’t keep it to yourself – ask your neighbor for help. Grow food in groups. In my neighborhood we all know what the other is planting so we can share. If you have to go out of town to shop, car pool together, if your neighbor is loosing their home, open your doors, if they are hungry, share what you can. Barter for services. Give discounts to locals when possible, shop locally when that business is supporting locals (and when they aren’t, go back to the carpooling thing). Have gatherings at your homes, give people a chance to laugh and talk and eat. Reach out to each other and recognize that you are not alone. Otherwise our economic depression could easily turn into emotional depression, which leads to isolation and despair, and since half of us don’t have insurance, who is going to pay for the damn Prozac?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Christina and Scott

I've been highly remiss on posting pics in here! So, here is Christina and Scott. Great people, very eassy to be with. I could spend a whole day with them, no problem. Good thing, as I will be doing that shortly - their wedding is in May. Hang in there guys, the biggest rollercoaster ride is at the end!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Story - Cell Phone Killer

I am a Serial Cell Phone Killer. I never loose them, ever. But I can kill them with aplomb. I’ve been with Verizon for 8 years and I think I’m on my 20th phone or something like that. Some of the episodes are typical – like dropping the darn thing 50 times in a week – but some of the deaths are spectacular. Like driving over the phone. That one was horrifying… “Wait! I forgot my phone!” only to walk around to the front of the car and see little bits and a very flat keypad. Then we have the phone vs. the hot tub scenarios. I bet I lost a good 5 phones before I gave up talking on the phone while in the tub. The deal with that is that you can, if you are quick, take the battery out and dry them out. They will usually recover. The first time. Do it three days in a row, however, and you are done. Ear pieces help, but only if you can retain the part where you are still connected to the phone and do not suddenly decide to move to the opposite side of the tub, dragging the phone along with you. Cell phones cannot water ski any better than I can and tow rope or not, go down almost immediately.

While the cell phone can endure a certain amount of water, they cannot consume any caffeine at all. Coffee is instant death. Now while I would love to tell you I found this out by spilling my coffee on my phone, I have to admit it was a much more spectacular experience than that. I drive up to shoot a wedding, grab my gear and realize I have my cell. As I live in fear of my phone going off during a ceremony, I randomly toss it onto my seat where the damn thing bounces and lands, no lie, in the coffee cup between the seats. Dead. See? Absolutely amazing – couldn’t do it if I tried to do it, but – get this – I did manage to do it twice. Not once, but twice.

The second time was horrible – my son and I were on some incredible run where we had shot in LA, had to drive to Vegas to catch a plane to Dallas for another shoot, then back to Vegas so I could speak at this convention. With all this going on, it’s imperative for me to have my phone. I manage to play dunken donut for the second time in Texas where I cannot replace my phone for some reason and must return to Vegas to do so. I start using my son’s phone. When our plane lands in Vegas, I make a call while attempting to collect my gear – his phone slips off my shoulder when I get into the aisle and then, due to the stampede of high-hope Gamblers lining up behind me, I was forced forward and managed to step on the phone, taking out our second phone in two days. But I’m not done – l am on a roll. My boyfriend picks us up and out of necessity I take over his phone (I’m supposed to be speaking the next morning and there are lots of event and sound-type people needing to know I’m in the right state). This works for two hours until I leave it unattended for 7 seconds and it gets stolen. 3 for 3. Imagine trying to explain this to the Verizon guy the next day. “Hi – I need three new phones….”

Last year’s episode was sheer stupidity on my part (as opposed to the previous, which was sheer brilliance). My key pad numbers were sticking so I get the bright idea that you can clean this like you can a computer keyboard. You can’t.

And welcome to this years episode. Yes, here I am again. After dropping the phone eighty million times (my next phone is going to have a rubber suit – maybe even a rubber, waterproof suit) I managed to crack the corner of the phone making it a very precarious business – now requiring two hands and delicate handling. That worked for about an hour. Next thing I know, I have half the phone in my left hand and half the phone in my right hand. Murdered. Murdered while trying to explain to Verizon Wireless that I have, in fact, killed yet another phone.

So, the point of all this is, if you are trying to reach me on my phone – which if you are trying to book a shoot, you would be, you will hear a rather cryptic message on my end directing you to another number while I wait for my new phone. Rumor has it that will happen next week sometime when I qualify for my upgrade.

See, it seems that with my last contract renewal, I forgot to get phone insurance.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Story -Techno Attack

You know the old adage that trouble comes in threes, right? Well, I've come to the conclusion that irritating things come in twenty-twos and usually within the span of one short day.

These just seem to be the little facts of life. Yesterday would be a fine example of this theory. The day begins with a dead car battery. Dead because my headlights were left on. OK, you say, you are an idiot and you left your lights on. Well, not quite so much. See, I have a relatively new car and that isn't supposed to happen. When I turn the car off, the lights are supposed to go off too. Not this time. I worried that perhaps something was wrong with the ignition switch, but no. I have no idea how this fluke occurred, but now I'm really irritated. I NEED this feature because I'm FAMOUS for leaving my lights on in foggy San Francisco. Great, I have a feature I cannot trust.

As I'm jumping my car, the phone rings and its Verizon calling to let me know that I might want to switch to the endless minutes plan and I'm some thousand minutes over my current plan and the bill is to the moon. And, by the way a payment is due.

OK, have you ever talked to Verizon? The upside is that they might be one of the last corporations that actually have a human being working with you instead of a robot, but the downside is that they are really very, very, very thorough. So while my car battery is being re-charged, my cell battery is being drained as I'm hearing about every little thing under the sun and how I can use my phone to get directions if I go back to college and take three computer science courses. THEN while in the course of multi-tasking, I somehow manage to tweak the phone in such a manner as to break the top of the phone half way off and it now hangs by a thread and has no screen. Super.

Right about then my clients arrive and I have to abandon both projects. After that, I return to my main office and main computer to do some editing. Or not. Apparently I have a wavering hard drive. Now, while not my main hard drive, this is NOT a hard drive I want to loose, trust me. So we play the re-boot game which becomes massive. Once I finally get the thing up, I have to abandon my plans for the day in favor of burning DVD's like a mad woman to get my information off the stupid thing. I have two computers going in order to expedite this and there I am rolling my chair back and forth, re-booting the one about every five minutes and then the second one decides that while it will check the DVD to tell me the files are there, it will not show me the thumbnails until I reboot IT.

Alright, I know when I'm beat. So I go to call my computer guy... except that his number is in the cell phone with no screen. Oh happy day. Fortunately, I have my son's number memorized, and he works at Circuit City so I call him to see about getting me another phone. I'm really inept at things like that and its priceless to me that he is so good at it. However, seems I must make that payment first. Fine.

I go to look for my credit card and it is gone. Not gone as in stolen, gone as in somewhere on the desk with the 75000 DVD's spread all over the place from my earlier mania. Fine, I opt for the ATM card, call, go through the rigmarole and the card is declined. This puts me in a frenzy because, while I admittedly suck at balancing my checkbook, this would mean about a 2,ooo screw up, which is bad, even for me. So NOW I'm off to the bank. No, I'm fine down there and they have no idea why the card was denied. Back home, back to Verizon and then the dreaded moment happens - the phone falls completely apart. Done. Over. Bye-bye.

So NOW I get to dig through random files to find an old Verizon bill so I can call them back. I do, pay the bill, but not before I get a two hour run down on everything under the sun.

Then to my son. Yes, I can get a new phone, but if I wait until the 23rd I can get an upgraded phone. I couldn't care LESS about an upgraded phone, all I need is one that DIALS and shows me a screen. Then he tells me the upgraded phone will carry 200 of my images in it which I can use as a portable portfolio and now I care about the upgraded phone. Dilemma.

Seeing as the day is primarily shot, I decide to go in and work on the laptop and write my newspaper column. JUST because it can, it decides that the letter *t* is not going to work. Now, have you ever tried to type anything and avoid the letter *t*? I'm here to tell you that it is in the center of the keyboard for a reason.

OK, its become clear that the day is a wash, so I opt for the television set. This was a bad idea because I've recently switched companies and I don't understand my television anymore. I keep getting stuck on the Asian News, which is all well and good except not being Korean, its not really all that entertaining. I call and beg my boyfriend to come over and help me get to Bravo and content myself with Project Runway re-runs and get mad at them for booting Chris off the show all over again.

I go to bed, all to happy to end Black Monday.

Now, I am convinced that these things cluster together for a reason and intentionally. I got up this morning to deal with the letter *T* and you can see it is working. It just began working like yesterday never happened. The other computer is also in a better mood and miraculously, my computer guy found me and will doubtless save me. Can't say the same for my cell phone, but hey - small potatoes.

So the plan is for today to be a better day. My plan, anyway, we will see if the wide world of technology stays on my team or not.

HOWEVER - for the next week, use the office number not the cell. And, Elizabeth, Judy, Jonathan, Paul, Ana, Laura Kerr and Mo please call and leave me your phone numbers? You are in my cell only, so I can't reach you.

Thanks!

www.thedawsonstudios.com office number is 707.987.8385

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Photo- Selene



Hey! This is Selene - she's in Junior High and she's my first shoot for my new studio special. Check out her slideshow at www.thedawsonstudios.com/cel/sel.htm and remember, my shows take a bit to load because of the music which I STILL cannot figure out how to deal with. Its only a 45 second wait, but it feels like half your life.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Photo - Jillian and Chad

Here is Jillian and Chad - quite comically, she didn't think she would photograph well. I should have this problem with every bride of mine. LOL.
Hey missy - your site is up - www.thedawsonstudios.com/jillian/jillian.htm
love you both!

Photo- Brady

Is he not just to die for cute? Here's your sneak peak, Mo! This calm little guy was absolutely fabulous to work with. And check the eyes! A family trait, I might add. I had a great time with him and the three women who are raising him. A very adored young man, I might say, but certainly a justified adoration.

Photo - Abigail, Austin and Reyhanna

Ah, Mr. Austin once again. This time we went out to play in the rain and the mud, which he found to be great sport. I was also treated to a great showing of how Spiderman would handle an umbrella. I loved it, just loved it. He is doubtless one of my favorite little boys.
Miss Abigail. I almost dropped my jaw when I saw how much this child had changed in a year (She's on the front page of my website, the one with the great hat). But the only thing that has changed is her looks (which is good, one cannot look like a one year old forever. Might be kinda disconcerting at the prom). She is still the queen of spunk and personality. And as pretty as ever.

Reyhanna, their cousin. Another one that looks worlds different, although its been a couple years since I've seen her, so it didn't take me by surprise so much. Wild curly brown hair and quite the dancer. I about died laughing when I saw her getting down with her bad self. I've never seen anything quite so cute.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Story - The business with bathtubs.

Ah, nothing like a warm bubble bath at the end of a long, stressful day.....

I should have sat down and reviewed the day before trying this, I guess. It was one of those days where the last thing I did on each project I attempted was out to get me. Had to write a piece to make deadline, writing goes well, printer dies. Pulled out six shelves all by my big self, last nail on last shelf doesn't work and manages to piss me off to such a degree that after literally hanging on the hammer, suspended, I lost it and began beating on it like a maniac and will now get to play games with dry-wall patch, not to mention suffering a week of "hammer elbow" for my efforts. Ordering an album works beautifully until the very last image turns out to be misnumbered and requires 3 hours of searching to figure out.

One of those days, you know. But hey - there's always the end of one of those days and the nice warm bubble bath and the book to soothe one's soul with, right?

So I gather my equipment - towel, fuzzy pink jamies, book, water, candle.... turn on the tub and proceed to get distracted. Here in lies the problem. I have a clawfoot bathtub - a big one. While these are beautiful, certainly, and long enough for a long person such as myself, a lot lies in the timing. When you have an 80 gallon tub and a 50 gallon hot water tank and you are heating cold cast iron, its quite important that you time this well. You have to use only the hot water and you have to stop when you run out. At that point the tub will be just a little too hot and by the time it cools down enough for you to stop sweating, the hot water will have recovered enough for you to get the level over your knees. Works perfectly in theory, but if I'm honest I would have to say that theory has only proved itself about 3 times in my life. The trick lies in sitting by the tub and continually checking to see if the hot water is running out. THERE'S a good time. Being a person who is easily distracted at best, this never works out. And sure enough, I go back in, turn off the water, undress, put my foot in and.... damnit! I've done it again! I debate... I'm naked and the room is freezing, and the water is considerably warmer than I am... do I dare? Memories flood me... memories of hell and in this case it is the hell of being in a tub that is not warm enough but still warmer than the air in the room and being perfectly miserable while I count the seconds until the bedamned hot water heater gets its act back together and my poor children heat water on the stove in a vain attempt to help me out (no wonder people in the wild wild west days hardly ever bathed - THAT doesn't work, btw). I opt out of this, throw on my towel and spend 15 minutes standing in front of my furnace instead.

OK, surely the hot water heater will have recovered by now. I go in and check. I'm good to go. Now comes the next step which would be to simultaneously drain out the water while putting in new water. Simple, you slightly open the drain while doing this swirling business with your hands, creating a whirlpool and watching your rubber duck race around you in circles. Rather fun, actually.

Or not. Maybe it was only fun to play "whirlpool" with my little sister when I was 8. Maybe when I am an adult and dealing with this idiot tub, its not such a good idea. Another problem with a clawfoot lies in hardware. Two things are at play with my tub. One is the original hardware to turn the water on and off. Its so old, it doesn't turn off, so I have to turn the water on using the main valves on the outside of the tub. The other issue is in the drain itself which is one of those screw-in jobbies which are not designed to work well with stressed-out bath takers (or in this case, would-be bath taker). I get in the tub, enjoying the hot, hot water swirling around when suddenly I notice that the water level is not going up, au contraire, it is going down. Fast. OH NO! I dive for the drain and attempt to secure it. The water is so hot, it is difficult to keep my hands there and the bubbles are rather prohibitive to vision. I fight... its not screwing in straight! I fight some more.... the level is going down and down... I give up, stand up, turn off the water, return to tub and finally manage to get the drain secure. I'm only in a few inches of water.... the hot water comes back on, but not before giving me its token dousing of ice cold water during which I pray it is to be followed by hot. OK. Maybe we have this together now. I lean back, ahh.... only to suddenly feel cold water on my feet. OUT OF HOT WATER AGAIN! Really? Argh....

And sure enough, there I was, once again, in hell. 6 inches of warm water around me doing the all-to-familiar-debate of which was worse - getting out of the semi-warm into the cold, or suffering and waiting for the hot water (again, again, again). I read my book, trying to ignore the situation, trying the hot water every 2 pages which only serves to frustrate and add more cold and no hot.

I really should have thrown in the towel (literally) and just gone to bed, but I did not. I suffered it out and finally won. The longest bath in the history of baths, I'm sure. Also one of the most expensive. After an hour of war, just to get the water IN the tub, I found it required an exceptionally long time to soothe the act of doing that out of my body. Probably took another three re-fills on hot and two more hours of soaking to get my shoulders down off my ears.

Today looks to be another such day. I have a bunch of tasks ahead of me that are threatening to have me in a similar state of mind by 5 pm. However, you will be happy to know that I may have learned my lesson - and advanced planning has been done: I've made arrangements to spend the evening in my girlfriend's hot tub.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Photo- Christina, Tarzana


At en months, Christina sat peacefully, giving little smiles to her folks. At two she is ON THE GO! On the go on tip toes, actually. Quite cute - approaches all activity on her tip toes. Very busy. Her folks were worried because they had a very hard time getting shots of her because she only stays in one spot for about one second which would be quite a challenge with the blinkity-blinkity pocket digital camera. After the shoot her mom and I discussed which DSLR she should buy. LOL.
I just adore this child. She is smart, adorable, friendly and mercifully would slow down from time to time and smile at me.

Christina's photos can be seen at www.thedawsonstudios.com/judy2/chris.htm and grandmas can see the entire collection at www.thedawsonstudios.photoreflect.com

Fun, fun, fun.

Photo - Theo, Manhattan Beach


And here we have Theo again. This is his new, very cool blanket that he's lying on. Softest thing in the world. I tried to convince him to hand it over, but he wasn't having it. LOL.
Theo is lots of fun. Very much a boy's boy. This year he turned me onto picking and chewing on sour grass and I showed him the nastursium leaf. Gotta love a kid that can eat in the wilds of Manhattan Beach, right?

His slide show is on my site at www.thedawsonstudios.com/cat/theo.htm and family can order at www.thedawsonstudios.photoreflect.com

Monday, January 28, 2008

Story - Hello Kitty

I have had some rather odd things happen to me in my life, and as this was assuredly right up there at the top of the list, I thought I would share it with you.

It was my last night in LA. I was sleeping on an air mattress in my friend's living room, which put me about 10 inches off the ground. All was well , until around 3 AM when I started to hear someone very close to me say "Hello" in a high pitched voice. Very clear, very articulate and about 6 times.

Well, you know how it is when you are sleeping and you need to be sleeping - you sort of fight the invasion of the conscious world, attempting to incorporate whatever it is (in my case its usually the alarm clock) into your dream. I happen to be rather good at this. One time I managed to get a full half hour of extra sleep in by managing to turn my beeping alarm clock into some odd song that a bunch of beautiful Japanese women were singing. Kind of an odd overlay into my dream about slaying dragons on a golf course - but, hey! Dreams are weird anyway, so who cares?

So, I attempted to take the Hello Voice and implement it into the business of making a sand castle in front of the Vatican, but it didn't work. Reluctantly, I opened my eyes.

About 12 inches in front of my face, directly at eye-level, was a huge black cat. OK, I was dreaming.

"Hello?"

Oh my. I was dreaming and apparently I have just awakened in the middle of a Disney film.

"Hello?" Again with this. This goes on for some time as I try to fathom the reality of this moment. Mind you, this isn't "Me-ow" that sorta sounds like "hello", no this is a clear-cut, articulate "hello", complete with change of verbal emphasis. Then he reaches out and pats my face. Apparently this is more than a mere greeting, this requires action.

Admittedly I have never met a cat that speaks English before, but I do speak Cat rather fluently being the owner of a rather psychotic Siamese, and I know what the face smacking business is about. So I get up and proceed down the hall to a strange kitchen where I attempt to locate the demanded kitty breakfast. The entire time I am being followed around with "Hello" and "Mew" casted about on an alternate basis. After I fed him, I went back down the hall, pausing briefly to listen, sure that the theme to the Twilight Zone would be forthcoming out of nowhere. All was silent, and I returned to bed, this time covering my head with the pillow lest the dog come out and ask me to lunch.

The next morning I reviewed this experience, still trying to place it in a dream, but it wasn't working. So with a great deal of embarrassed hesitation, I asked my host and hostess if this actually happens or if someone had put drugs in my toothpaste.

"Oh yeah, he does that every morning". Apparently this is a normal routine in their house. I see. I left for Northern California shortly after that, still rather unclear on which was stranger: A cat that says "Hello" or the people who consider this perfectly normal.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Isabelle



This exquisite young lady is Isabelle. We had a really good time braving the raging waters at the creek the other day. She's a trooper - that rock she is sitting on is wet, btw, and its winter, but I never heard about a cold fanny one time. LOL. Thank you Isa and Francie - you have a slide show up - its www.thedawsonstudios.com/is/is.htm and your photos can be seen in total at www.thedawsonstudios.photoreflect.com. Fair warning - I put music on your slide show, so it will load kinda slow the first time you get in there.

Vicki

Here is Vicki. And check out the mustard field. This was amazing - there must have been 20 acres of this stuff, it was incredible. Life in the wine country! Vicki - the photos are at www.thedawsonstudios.photoreflect.com, just look for your name on the right! Call me on my cell when you get to them. I had a great time with you!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Cows and Chickens


As a photographer, particularly when one does weddings as part of that, you inevitably become an on-the-drive-home"wedding planner". Its an occupational hazard I guess. Having done this for a zillion years, I'm rather over it, but every young employee I've ever had spends our entire drive home planning his/her own wedding based on what they just saw.

My boyfriend is in real estate and I'm learning quick that my occupational hazard has a parallel in that field. I guess looking at homes and land all day long tends to get you going on what you want. And, like ice sculptures and chapel-length veils, this seems to change quite frequently. A month ago, for example, he only wanted two rooms in a 3000 sq. ft home - one being the bedroom and the other being a kitchen that rivals Kitchen Stadium (he's also a chef). Yesterday, however, he was all Home On the Range.

We were driving all over Northern California running errands which was giving us lots of car time to chat, and apparently for him to reflect on the plan du' jour.

"I've decided I need a lot of space," He says to me. Quite the opening line after several minutes of contemplative silence.

"Now? Listen, if you need space, fine. I can live with that. But if you need space now, and you think I am walking home from here, you have another think coming, Sparkie."

"No! Not that kind of space. I mean land. I need lots of land. 20 acres. With a nice little ranchette, that kind of thing." So we spend the next bit of time eye-balling open land and discussing the value of trees vs sun. This leads to the discussion of the vegetable garden, which I firmly believe should not be under a half acre in size. This then side tracks us onto the cooking thing for awhile, and then we return to the "practicalities" of the "new plan".

"That's too big, too much work," He announces, sizing me up in terms of my potential rototiller-operational-skills.

"I can do it. My grandfather was a farmer. I love to garden." All true. He seems to be somewhat OK with this idea and then launches into how the proper equipment would be needed. Apparently the idea of running amok with a little tractor with a rototiller attachment is outweighing any concerns he may have about my inability to turn a single shovel of dirt, nevermind an entire half acre of dirt.

Then he decides he needs a goat. OK, I see we are switching gears again. I can play Old McDonald with the best of them.

"Goats are good. I want a cow."

"Cows would be OK. I wouldn't mind someone running some cattle on the back acreage." (Please insert the twang of an old guitar and the clunk of a canteen here)

"No, honey. Not cattle. A cow. Cow singular. You know, the one named Bessie that meets you in the front yard every morning and says 'hello'." Honestly. Cattle, indeed, and running cattle at that. Men.

He looks at me incredulously, "What in the world do you want a cow for?"

"Milk!" I give him my best 'duh' look, but the truth be known, I didn't dare say I really wanted it for a pet.

He ponders this for a minute or two, while I entertain visions of carrying my pail out into the dewy morning grass, strewn with wild flowers to milk Bessie.

"Well, the meat would be good..." He says by way of concession.

The dew dries up, the wild flowers wilt, I drop my pail and look at him in horror. "MEAT???! You aren't going to kill Bessie! Bessie is a pet, a family member!..."

"Well, what else are we going to do with her offspring? You didn't want a herd of cattle running, remember?"

"What offspring? Since when is Bessie pregnant? Bulls are mean."

"Since Bessie gives milk. Bessie has to be pregnant or nursing to give milk, Sharon. Just like with you." He's quite amused at the incredulous look on my face.

This had never occurred to me. Go figure. Who knew it worked the same way with cows? I was quite concerned about the bull aspect, but he then assured me that you can rent a bull. Rent-a-Bull. Now there's a business to be in!

Having resolved the issue of the cow and the goat, I moved on to chickens. I love chickens. Especially the one's that look like they are wearing bloomers. However, I was soon to learn that to some people the chicken is akin to the Spawn of Satan.

"Absolutely not. Chickens are messy and smelly and a royal pain in the ass." This led to a heated debate where I desperately pleaded the Case of the Chicken to no avail. Apparently my Animal Wish List was over with the cow. He promised to buy me eggs, but I wasn't done. Then a horrible thing happened - I was banished from the kingdom.

"If you want chickens, you can have chickens on your own piece of property." He didn't say it, but I could see the next line in his evil eyes: and take your little cow with you! Banished! Thrown off the farm in my little checkered pinafore. Fine. Be that way. I pouted for some time, seriously concerned about how I was going to manage to rent-a-bull on my own and then a vision hit me and I started giggling. If my dog and my cat are any indication, this wouldn't work out for him very well. Both of my animals are by my side constantly. They follow me everywhere I go, room to room even. I seriously doubt Bessie and the girls would be any different and I suddenly had this vision of going over to his house to visit being followed by a cow and 6 chickens. The picture of him opening the front door to that was hilarious.

"No chickens." Fine. We moved out of playing Old McDonald then and moved on to lunch where he ordered chicken!

It wasn't until the next day that the reality of my own existence hit me. I've pitched a huge campaign for a milk cow and I'm lactose intolerant! I haven't been able to drink milk for over 20 years! OH NO! What a moron I am! I was horrified - I spent all my feminine whiles working on some stupid cow that makes milk I can't drink and meat I eat maybe three times a year! A whole cow would provide me with meat for the rest of my life, for chrissakes. Who am I kidding? I don't know how to milk a stupid cow! And besides, if memory serves, that procedure needs to happen at day break. Day break?! I don't DO day break. I do noon! What good is a cow?

I dial the phone. "Honey, I've made a tremendous error in judgement." I explain this horrific dilemma to him.

"Yeah, but I eat lots of meat." I point out that this isn't fair. He then remembers something about methane gasses that come off of cows and it being bad for you. I didn't even ask. Sounded suspiciously like Blow Dryer Cancer to me, but I could see Bessie packing her bags. I made one more attempt at Save the Chicken.

"Do you promise, promise, to clean up after them?" I promised. "Okay, then. But only two."

Good deal. I was no longer banished and I had my chickens. So when Ed McMahon shows up with our million dollar sweepstakes check, we are all set to go.