Friday, July 13, 2012


I love the underdog. The one who is destined to fail. The one who is unpopular. Or funny looking. Or whatever cliche you want insert here. I will rally behind the underdog because I have faith that the underdog can, and will, kick a little ass. And when that happens, I will be there with tissue box in one hand, pom pom in the other, and will cheer like the high school cheerleader that I am was.

My husband also shares in my love for the underdog. The first time I fully realized this was the day he brought home a Christmas tree. Picture Charlie Brown's tree. Or as our neighbor put it, a 2x4 with lights wrapped around it. It was the saddest tree on the lot and Gary knew he had to bring it home. So it came to our house to live out it's Christmas tree destiny. Displayed in our front window, the tree (and Gary) was mocked endlessly. But it didn't matter all that much to us.

A year and a half ago, I met a dog named Chloe at the shelter. I wrote a blog about her, which you can read here. This is how she looked the first day that I met her:

The shelter did a great job nursing her back to health and putting some meat on her bones. She found a home with a sweet young woman who took very good care of her for a year and a half. Unfortunately, life has thrown a curve ball and she is no longer able to keep Chloe (who is now named Jozy). Through no fault of her own, Jozy has found her way back to the shelter where she is hoping that the third time is the charm.

Some friends at the shelter let me know that Jozy was coming back today. I wanted to stop by and say hi and to get some new photos of my old friend. You see, I sort of fell in love with her the first time I met her.

A year and a half later, I found myself in the familiar place of taking her portrait, hoping that it will find her a new Forever Home. I was able to spend some quality time with her today and am so glad that I did. Would you like to see how Jozy is doing now? I thought you might.

HI!!!!! I'm Jozy!!!!!

I have a bad habit of examining animals when I first meet them.
My exams always start with the head and the first thing I noticed about Jozy?
Sparkling white teeth. None of my animals have teeth this nice.
And of course there is the obvious scarring, the result of injury and neglect from her previous, previous owner.
My daughter pointed out that she has a constellation on her side.
Which looks much better now than when I first saw her:

Jozy had just been placed in her habitat when I came in to photograph her. She was a little anxious and liked to look out the window to see what was going on. 
I tried to break the ice by telling her a joke. She thinks I'm hilarious.
Not really.
Sorry to bore you, Joz.
Thanks for the smile.
 And for pricking up your cute little ears.
And for this lovely profile shot
(again, notice the sparkly teeth!).
But promise to not look at her toes, as she could use a pedicure.
I have tried to paint my dogs' toenails. It didn't go so well.

Our photography time was briefly interrupted by a group of kids who were on a tour.
I think Jozy enjoyed their company.
She was kinda sick of me anyway.
I wanted to stay with Jozy all day. She sat in my lap and licked my face. 
For the record, I am thoroughly disgusted by saliva. Especially dog saliva. 
Which has to do with the fact that my dogs like to find snacks in the litter box. 
But I digress.

Seriously, look at this adorable face!
Eventually, I packed up my things and headed out. But not before saying goodbye to Jozy one last time.
She may be an underdog, but she is a survivor.
I have faith that her perfect Forever Home is out there.
And I also have a box of tissues. Just in case...

*UPDATE* On July 29, 2012, Jozy was adopted by a most wonderful couple. I will be stalking am hoping that I can follow up with Jozy in her new home and bring you photos of her life in her Forever Home. Congratulations Jozy!!!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Blogging. Meh?

I used to blog. A lot. And now... not so much. I blogged about things like mac n' cheese in my baby's belly button or setting my scrubs on fire. I loved telling stupid stories and posting pictures to prove just how ridiculous my life can be. But then Facebook came along and it became oh-so-easy to slap a few photos on my wall. Not as satisfying to my inner Hemingway, but it got the job done.

A few weeks ago, I signed up for a bloggers luncheon at one of my favorite places, The Vintage Bricoleur. They had invited Courtney of French Country Cottage to speak. I admit that I am a rabid fan of her blog, where she posts the most beautiful photos of the DIY projects she completes in her lovely French-inspired home. Most of the time, she posts very detailed instructions on how to do it yourself in your own home. I am not very crafty. And I can't seem to suture fabric as neatly as I do the skin and assorted tissues of my patients. But her images and instructions inspire me to try, and I think my home is a little prettier because of it. Which is a tall order for a place that houses 4 dogs, 3 cats, 2 small children, a parrot and a very dirty and stinky husband (he works with cows - need I say more?).

The workshop was held in the old fruit shed of the High Hand Nursery in Loomis. If you haven't been there, you should treat yourself to a visit, because it is pretty amazing.

Isn't this space awesome! Anyone interested in a photo session there, please let me know because I am dying to shoot there!

Courtney did a wonderful job outlining various aspects of blogging - for fun and for profit. Turns out I "blog for bliss". As she spoke about different things, I was amazed by the comments and questions that flowed from the other attendees. They were intelligent. They were insightful. They were technical. And you know what? Most of the women (there were only women present) are my mother's age, or older. My mother, who just learned how to text on her phone. Ladies, please do not take this as an insult as it is intended as a compliment. I'm serious. You ran circles around me and my poor little pea brain. For example, meet Joy:

She is 80 years young and author of the blog The Olde Farmhouse

And talking here with Joy is Helen. She is the mother of Terry (owner of The Vintage Bricoleur) and author of her own blog, Wildberry Ranch.

The discussions were quite lively:

And if a question arose, people would jump on their laptops to find the answer.

If it appears that I spent a lot of time photographing Joy, you would be correct.
I was so mesmerized and inspired by this woman, I couldn't help myself.

Another person I found to be inspiring would be Kim Mazzei 
who is partnered at Not Too Shabby in Folsom. 

Kim, don't kill me for posting this photo. I love it because it shows your wild and crazy personality. Kim is a vibrant woman who touted, multiple times, "if you don't put yourself out there, nobody will". So true, so true. Any time that I am scared to post something for fear of what people will think, I will remember those words. And this picture of your beautiful self!

Of course, I can't go without saying that these two women inspire me:

On the left is Terry from The Vintage Bricoleur, and the right, Courtney from French Country Cottage. Terry is genuine and kind. One thing I love about her? She remembers people's names. Do you know how cool it is to walk into her store and hear "Hi Nicole, how are you?"? Personally, I love it. I also love strolling through her store, looking at all of her vintage pieces which have stories to be told. 

And Courtney. What a dynamic woman! Can you believe she has a 19 year old son? She has been blogging professionally for only a couple of years, but she has definitely made her mark. I look forward to each and every one of her posts, complete with the beautiful images from her home.
Courtney, you are FABULOUS!

Some wonderful, unexpected goodies came along with the luncheon.
Of course, there was a box lunch, courtesy of High Hand.
I had the vegetarian option, which was a most delicious salad, complete with mixed greens and grilled corn. And the most heavenly lemon vinegarette dressing. 
I'm pretty sure most everything I ate came direct from the High Hand nursery.

Each person received a lavender sachet.
I have left mine in my camera bag, to help calm and relax me
after a long session of shooting.

Perhaps the most appreciated gift of all was the neck massage from Connie Spade.
In five minutes, this woman managed to melt away months of tension that I have stored in my neck and shoulders.

Here she is, massaging the hands of one of the luncheon attendees.
She'll come to your home, and I'm thinking about having her over very soon.
If you would like to escape for a little while, please call her at (916) 410-4884. 

I can happily say that I came away from this luncheon with so much more than I had anticipated. I was hoping to rediscover a love for blogging... which I have. The tricky part will be keeping up the motivation to post more regularly. After meeting such an amazing group of women, I am hopeful that I will be able to do just that. 

Thank you again Terry and Courtney. 
I am already looking forward to the next one!