Thursday, December 30, 2010

Star Wars, Legos, and Miss Lyra.

Isaac hates Star Wars. So he says. And only because Mama loves it. I have now learned that I should not tell my kid what Mama loves --- as he will only "hate" it in order to be different from me. He "hates" Harry Potter, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings --- and all the other things Mama enjoys --- except that he really doesn't hate them at all.

Anyway, he professed complete hatred for Star Wars UNTIL he got the Star Wars Lego game for the Wii (best game ever as far as I am concerned). Now he says that he still does not love Star Wars --- BUT he DOES love Star Wars Legos (the ones that Mama has been collecting for the moment he turned to my side of things :).

And so he has been making scenes with his Legos ... (notice the carnage in the background)...

... and because only The Hulk can destroy Darth Vader (that is Isaac's story and he is sticking to it) ... he creates scenes such as this ...

But what he did not expect is that our kitty, Miss Lyra (named after the Hulk's daughter I might add) --- can destroy them all --- and ENJOYS it!

Lyra --- Daughter of the Hulk, Queen of our Home, Destroyer of Evil, and the bestest, rottenest kitty I have ever known :)



May the Force Be With You - Always.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

First Snow Storm of the Season.

Snow has been a bit problematic for me for the past four years --- ever since I experienced a somewhat traumatic event that took place during a Nor'easter in late 2006. Slowly but surely I am learning to make peace with snow ... and to even appreciate it again as I did when I was a child (snowball throwing never gets old).

I have a child that absolutely loves snow. And despite his Haitian roots ... he also loves to swim in rivers and lakes just after the ice has broken. This kid loves the cold and hates the heat. Weird, I know. (I guess he was fated to live in Maine!) Because of this aversion to summer heat, I am more apt to get him to play outside in the cold winter weather --- which means I had better make peace with it.

And so --- I grab my camera --- as shooting pics of our daily life always gives me solace.

These pictures are not award-winning art --- but they are my therapy. Toting a camera while venturing around the snowy property --- finding the beauty in the snow --- enjoying my son and his dog as they kick the snow around --- all of this will heal the anxiety I feel when I am surrounded by mountains of Maine snow.

More snow-filled pictures to follow --- as weather permits :)


PS. What do you enjoy about the snow?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

An LL Bean Christmas.

We Mainers love our LL Bean. And the flagship store in Freeport? Well, it is totally awesome! I can't believe it has taken me 15+ years to visit it. This series of shops (a village really) is open 24-7 ... year round. And on a recent trip back from Nashua, NH to Bangor, ME ... the kids and I took a break from the highway and shopped at LL for the first time. Good stuff ...

There is a trout pond with live fish!

Stuffed majestic animals everywhere. Museum quality and very educational.

An aquarium where kiddos can get an inside peek of what it looks like to live underwater ...

And Isaac FINALLY got to see what a Grizzly Bear looks like (he has been SO curious about them for a year now) ...

He was mesmerized and quite impressed.

And you could literally hang out here all day. There are two cafes for all your stomach needs ... as well as this (above) "family room" for relaxing, game playing and reading by the fire.

Or one could hang out and read with LL Bear ...

When we were done shopping (for Uncle Jamie, Daddy and Uncle John) ... we were treated to an unexpected and totally "Maine Christmas" treat ... a horse-drawn carriage ride through some of downtown Freeport ... courtesy of LL Bean.

What a great impromptu evening of shopping, learning and enjoying the spirit of Christmas. I highly recommend a stop to downtown Freeport, Maine ... and especially to the LL Bean Flagship store. And if you head another 1.5 hours up Route 95 ... you can pay us a visit as well :)

Oooohhh ... and LL Bean gives free concerts in the summers ... so plan accordingly.

Jodi & Family

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dear Brian,

Dear Brian,

This picture is how I will always remember you ... always staring into the eyes of your children ... always holding one of your babes in your arms ... always a Daddy.

I, however, am really pissed that this is how I have to"remember" you. You were way, way too young to leave this earth ... and your kids are way, way too young to live out their days without their Daddy here. I watched them bury you today. Literally. You went down into the earth as your children looked on. It was one of the worst days of my life. And theirs.

I watched your wife become a widow today. I watched your parents bury their eldest son. I watched your brother fall apart at the loss of you. I watched your Dad nearly throw himself into the ground with you. I watched my husband cry and shake .... and heard him curse God. In fact, I witnessed my husband lose all faith completely ... as this was just so, so wrong.

Your wife had witnessed this entire scene before ... as you well know. She was there when her own mother buried her father at such a young age. She watched her mother become a widow way too young. And like you, her own father left behind 5 children. It was a horrible deja vous of her own mother's life. And now she must raise her children without their Daddy ... just as she was raised without hers.

So wrong, Brian. So wrong.

We miss you already. I wanted you to hug me today ... and everyone else. I wanted you to smile your amazingly huge smile ... and pass around your incredible bear hugs. I wanted you to wake up and make everyone feel better ... as you were so good at that. Your presence was always so much larger than life. You were always so calm, easy-going and fun. We needed that today. We needed you today. But instead - we buried you. And it sucked. And we are sad. And we are angry. And this is all so f-in stupid.

You were healthy, Brian. We still don't know how on earth you died. Apparently we won't know for weeks. It seems your last hours were likely painless. But that is little consolation. Your kids' lives - your parents' lives - your wife's life --- will be far from painless now.

We are not angry at you. We love you. We are angry at something we cannot understand. We are angry at SO much. But not at you. Ok - maybe a little bit at you. Did you feel it coming and not get help? Did you screw up some meds or something? What the hell happened, Brian!? We will eventually find out, and we will forgive it. But right now, we don't know. And we are going to remain angry till we do - and maybe longer.

Brian - this sucks. I am sure you would agree. But here's the thing --- we will pick up where you left off --- as best we can. We will watch over your wife and kids. We will do whatever we can to help them. We will talk to them about how much you love them. We will make sure they take those bi-annual trips to Disney World. We will make sure Suzan does not try to take everything on by herself. We will love them as best we can for you. All of us. It won't be enough - but we hope it is something.

Till we see you again, Brian ... we love you. You were a good, solid man. You worked so hard to provide for your family. You were totally unassuming. Just a good soul who appreciated a good life spent with family. Always smiling. Always generous.

I cannot express to you - or anyone else - how much it sucks that you are gone. I hate this. We hate this. And I hope we can figure it out soon before we all lose faith.

Forever yours truly,


Friday, November 26, 2010

Thankful. Oh.So.Thankful. (GIVEAWAY!)

(the Thanksgiving spread at my friend Robin's house - so yummy!)

I have been doing some real soulful thinking lately --- about what this past year has brought me and my family --- and about all the amazing blessings in our lives. And this kind of thinking is very good therapy for the seasonal-affect crud that I go through at the start of these all too short days. Life is good --- even when its not. The old adages about counting your blessings have become more than just overused quotes for me now. I am beginning to "get it". Life is so good when you take deep look at all the beauty that surrounds you.

So, if you will join me, I would like to share some of the blessings of this past year with you and I invite you to do the same.

In no particular order ...

...but this one being the most important of all ...

* Meg has moved in with us for good. Amen x infinity. This is the greatest blessing to ever happen to our family --- and I hope it is true for her as well. She is safe, loved, supported, and she is family now. Truly. We could not even begin to tell you how thankful we are for her. And how very proud.

* Isaac's biological relations were found safe after the horrible quake in Haiti. What an incredible blessing. After all the devastation and loss of life in that country - we were able to locate the Metellus family and help them in whatever ways we could.

* Because of this dog, this dog and this fundraiser --- I have made the most incredible lifelong friends. I could have never imagined being so greatly blessed with the bounty of friends that I have now --- and I am so incredibly grateful! All my peeps at the Bangor Humane Society are such amazing blessings --- as well as all my "downtown" peeps --- my clients --- my mommy friends, my crafting friends, etc. Such a blessing to be surrounded by wonderful people.

* My dream of becoming a professional photographer has been realized. Studio 36 is a dream come true ... and within one year has become so successful that we needed a bigger, better location! It is still a long way from paying all the bills. But I am blessed by the clients who have come into my life, by doing what I love and by the growth potential of the biz.

* This past year has been a healthy one for all. How awesome is that!?

* Uncle Jamie got married. And Isaac was over the moon that he was the "ring master". It was a lovely day ... a beautiful, enchanting ceremony ... and a fresh start to my brother's life.

* We got a kitty! And I love her. Big. Much.

* Disney World! We were blessed with a hard earned trip to DisneyWorld! Ahhh --- the memories are simply awesome. I love that place. So magical. So family oriented. When I think of it, I have this intense urge to go back --- but also this calming, joyful sensation that I have experienced some wonderful things there. (Of which I have yet to post on this blog --- I am so behind in my posts!). And Isaac got to meet Spiderman. For real. So totally cool.

* Love. I --- we --- are blessed by the love in our family on a daily basis. Our little foursome has its ups and downs --- but we are so in love with one another. That is so worth waking up for :)

How about you??? Please leave a comment on the blog about what you are thankful for from this past year.

Heck - let's make this into a giveaway! Post your thankful thought and I will draw a random winner from your messages to receive a gift from my shop.

Thank you for reading!



Sunday, November 21, 2010

Introducing Our New Etsy Shop: BELOVED BOOKS.

I have always wanted to own my own used book shop that specializes in vintage childrens' books. Ad now I do - sort of. At least online. And although I always wanted to serve coffee in said book shop, I am thinking that perhaps you can grab a cup in your own home and surf through the fabulous books while still wearing your pjs.

Here is a sample of the goodies you will find there:

Please stop by and take a look around. From now till Christmas we are offering a 20% discount when you enter the coupon code: NewShop. Discount will be automatically taken off your total bill (a new Etsy function!).

Thanks for your continued support in all our endeavors. And ENJOY!



Sunday, November 14, 2010

Enjoying the Past via Videos.

I spent part of this weekend going through old picture and video files. I found the following two videos --- taken a couple of years ago --- and just had to share. Oh how I miss Isaac's little-baby-self --- but oh how I enjoy every moment that he grows into the sweet young man that he will all-too-soon become. I envy those mamas who have lots and lots of babies. I would have at least 8 if I could --- but am so incredibly thankful for the two awesome kiddos that I have.

Anyway --- here are the videos --- and if you are reading this on facebook --- you will need to click here to see the videos. ENJOY!


Monday, November 8, 2010

Studio 36 Has a New Location!

Hooray! The lease has been signed and for the next couple of years (or longer) our photography studio will be located at 170 Park Street (formerly the Peace & Justice Center) in Bangor, ME. We are so very excited. This space is gorgeous ... and is also the home of One Lupine Fiber Arts ... as well as the new home of my friend Andy Hurtt. There are some wonderful plans for the rest of the building as well --- very artsy plans --- and this space is going to be filled with creativity, joy, and all that is good. I can't wait!

We hope to be open in early January ... and will be sure to have a open house bash asap. Will share plans as we create them.

Thanks for sharing in our enthusiasm!


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Aunt Dandi on WABI.

One of my very best friends, who also happens to be the Fundraising Director of the Bangor Humane Society ... Ms. Danielle Coutu ... appears regularly on our local television station, WABI. Here she is ... showing off a pup that is up for adoption ... and promoting our 2011 Bangor Humane Society Calendar ...

Thank you for all you do Aunt Dandi.

And remember readers ... it is time to buy your calendar! Thank you :)


Monday, November 1, 2010

Buy One. Pretty Please :)

Meet Seabass (formerly known as Winston). This cat's life was literally saved by staff at the Bangor Humane Society. He died once. Truly. He "saw the light at the end of the tunnel". Well, I assume. Then, within minutes, he was brought back to life by the staff vet at the shelter. And though that should be enough to make him pretty special ... his life has also changed the lives of the human beings who love him. Including me.

Now meet Kimbo. He is A.W.E.S.O.M.E. And he would not be in a loving family were it not for the Bangor Humane Society. His life was saved because the Bangor shelter was able to meet his needs and to find him a loving home. Were it not for the shelter, who knows where he would be today ... if here at all.

Meet Lyra. She is WAY sexier in real life. This snapshot is terrible. And so is she sometimes. But we love her so very much. Because of the Bangor Humane Society, this kitty is a permanent member of our family. She was brought in as a malnourished, underweight little bitty thing ... and through their foster care program, we were able to care for her until she was ready to be neutered and adopted.

And Isaac is forever changed because of her. In our home, you will often hear me say, "What the heck did you do with yourself before we got Lyra?" because he is forever playing with her. She is his best buddy (though you wouldn't know it by the look on her face in the above shot).

Look, I swear I am not overly sentimental about animals. I used to be. But Haiti changed me on that front, and I am now much more sensitive to the plight of human beings than animals. BUT I have also seen first hand what wonderful things the BHS staff and volunteers do to help animals that would otherwise be in misery. And what they do is good ... and worthy of support.

I can also honestly say that it is not just the work they do for animals that has me lending support, but even more than that ... they help people. Sometimes people cannot keep their beloved pets ... and the shelter assures them in every way possible that their pet is in good hands and that they will find him/her the best home possible. This is good work. Sometimes a family (like us) is seeking the perfect pet ... and the shelter goes above and beyond to match people to their soul-pets. This is good work. The shelter also takes in volunteers who have their own challenges (mental /physical challenges, court-appointed community service workers, etc). They help these people to do good work as well. And working with animals can certainly change lives for the better.

So, have we established how awesome the Bangor Humane Society is yet? Have I given you enough info to make you want to buy our 2011 Bangor Humane Society Calendar? For just $20, you can purchase their calendar --- full of gorgeous fine art photography (like the picture of Seabass pictured above) --- all photos taken by me --- and in financial support of their good work.

Here is how:

Please purchase one or more calendars ($20 for 1 or 6 for $100) by sending a check made out to Studio 36, 1746 Stillwater Ave, Bangor ME 04401. Be sure to include your address and phone number so we can send you the calendar!

Or you can use Paypal:


Please consider buying one or more asap. They make great gifts for everyone on your Christmas list ... they are good for you ... good for the animals ... and good for people.




Monday, October 25, 2010

2010 Paws on Parade.

We are so proud of our local Humane Society ... and of the community of people who support them. Of course I am especially proud of my kiddos who give of their time to love and assist the animals, fund raise for the shelter, and participate in events such as the 2010 Paws on Parade ...

This year was epic for the event. Despite the sad shape of the economy, the shelter was able to raise a record $40,000! Amazing! This is due in large part to the wonderful staff at the Bangor Humane Society ... ESPECIALLY Miss Danielle Coutu, the Volunteer and Events Coordinator. She put her heart and soul into this event and it showed :)

Here are some of the critters who attended ...

To see more gorgeous four-legged critters (and some fairly gorgeous two-leggeds) in attendance, please check out my Flickr page.

Come join in the fun next year! The event takes place every October on the Bangor Waterfront. Mark your calendars. Oh, and speaking of calendars ... DON'T FORGET TO PURCHASE YOUR 2011 BANGOR HUMANE SOCIETY CALENDARS!!! We need 500 orders to get the best deal at the printers ... so please purchase yours right away.

PLEASE NOTE: If purchasing by mail, please send your checks to Studio 36, 1746 Stillwater Ave, Bangor ME 04401 and NOT the address on the order form. Thank you :)

Enjoy your furry friends.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Our Champion.

Meaghan quit cross-country last year. She certainly had reason to ... but she hated that she never completed the season. The thing is, she doesn't even really like cross-country. But, she is not a quitter. So, in her stubborn determination, she signed up for cross-country again this year ... and by golly ... she completed the season!

But Meg didn't just complete the season ... she rocked it. She made nearly every practice. She mentored some of the younger runners. She enthusiastically participated and helped to encourage team spirit and pride. She devoted herself to it. And her efforts paid off big.

This season, Meg received a ribbon at every meet except the one she got sick at (and she even ran while sick!). Gotta love that stubborn determination.

And - for her final championship race - she not only "placed" (as they call it) but she ran her best time ever!!! And her team went on to win the Championship for our region!!!

This girl has sure been through many personal trials in the past couple years. But she is a fighter. And this cross-country season has shown me that she has more inner determination than I may have given her credit for. We bought her the shoes and gave her the rides she needed ... but she did the rest. We are so very proud of her.

Thanks to all the wonderful people who have been encouraging her to be her best self. Your messages are getting through ... loud and clear.

Now maybe Meg can encourage me to join that dodge ball team I have been SO wanting to join. (It's for real! And they play other area dodge ball teams. How cool is that?)


PS. Love you Meg.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Do Not Be Alarmed!

Hello friends.

Many of you have wondered whether I have gone into hiding ... joined a cult ... or am currently lost in the woods of Maine somewhere ... (among various other unlikely scenarios). But alas, do not be alarmed!

Here is the scoop:

* I am in the process of moving the studio to a new location --- which is why you do not see me there anymore --- and why the place looks empty. The new location is wonderful and I will tell you about it soon.

* I am in the process of changing my cell phone carrier --- which is why you cannot reach me via that number you currently have. I am sure I have missed out on some fabulous get-togethers because of this --- but am hoping to transfer the "old" number to my new cell. Until then, feel free to call me at home or e-mail me at

* I also have had a recent issue with my Etsy shop --- which is why you all wondered where in the heck my shop went. No worries, it is back up and running --- --- with some fabulous new goodies and more on the way.

* You have also not seen me at the local bar --- which is why you wonder whether I have joined AA. No worries --- I will be back to my Wed. night drinking ritual asap. Just have to get the studio moved, my Bro's wedding pics done, among other pressing projects.

So, have a drink for me. I look forward to getting my life in order and sharing details of the new studio asap. I also have PLENTY of new pics to share in the near future (you didn't think you were off the hook yet with my Disney vacation pics, did you? There are still 1,ooo more to go through! Silly you.)

Love to you all.


Friday, September 24, 2010

My Brother's Wedding.

My "little" brother did it --- something he swore forever that he would never do --- he married. He committed himself to Amy Taylor --- forever more ---- on Sept 18, 2010. It was a lovely ceremony at Stonewall Farm in Keene, NH.

The facility was gorgeous, simple and elegant. The ceremony itself was emotional and tender. The food was to die for (well, nothing actually died, as it was all vegan and too delicious for words). The music acts (there were 3) throughout the event were wonderful. The homemade beer and wine flowed. The reunion of family and friends was incredible! And to top it all off ... the Grateful Dead cover band ... The Zen Tricksters ... rocked the evening.

Good Times.

Jamie & Amy --- may you grow together in your love in ways that amaze and inspire. May you always have each other's backs in every way. May you both encourage one another to be your greatest selves. May you walk beaches together hand-in-hand at ripe old ages. Know that everything is temporary --- so savor every wonderful moment --- and know that the not-so-great stuff never lasts long. Enjoy.


TO SEE PHOTOS FROM THE WEDDING, check here periodically, as I am uploading them a handful at a time.