Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Officially, my first photo gig...

Just wanted to post a few of the pics I took recently. This family was really fun. And since none of the group shots ended up perfectly (with everyone's eyes open or looking at the camera), the best pics ended up being the spontaneous candids. Anyway, if you like them, great. If not, and you have some advice, I would LOVE it.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

In Memory of My Friend, Dylan

Yesterday, May 9, 2009, my friend, Dylan, was laid to rest. He passed away on Wednesday and it's been a very emotional week for me. I worked with Dylan and his dad, Travis for 2 years or so at RJ Lewis, Inc. We're all finish carpenters, and Dylan was quickly learning the trade and becoming quite good at it. He was only 17 1/2 years old, but he was a good worker and was really taking pride in his job and in the things he built. His dad asked us if we could build a casket for Dylan. My boss was quick to take on the task. We're a tight crew--all of us are friends--and we'd do anything for each other. We especially loved Dylan. He was the crazy glue which held us together a lot of the time, always making light of things and keeping us laughing.

He was a bit of a hippie, wearing his hair long, keeping a good collection of tie-dyed t-shirts and peace signs around. And he had a lot of hippie friends. You may have seen them around Payson, just hanging out and walking around bare-foot. I never knew how many of these friends he had until his memorial service; It sort of looked like a smaller-scaled Woodstock. Pretty cool, and just how Dylan would've liked it. His graveside service wasn't the traditional religious service, the kind I've been to many times. Rather, it was a beautiful celebration and tribute to him, and who he was. My boss, Rich Lewis, conducted the service, and gave a well-worded speech. Dylan's aunt, Angela, then talked about Dylan; all of his amazing qualities, especially that of knowing what it is to be a good person. I thought it was a nice touch that Angela, amongst other family members, dressed in traditional hippie/flower child attire. Dylan would have loved seeing her. And perhaps he did. His Uncle Joel played a song on his guitar, and sang "Wish You Were Here," by Pink Floyd, a favorite of Dylan's. His Grandma Judy then talked about Dylan and all of the progress he'd made in the time he's been living at her house. The whole family is lucky to have Judy. She's always been such a strong and good person.

At the end of the service, Travis took the mic and thanked everyone for coming. He then talked about the casket that he had helped make for his son, a very emotionally therapeutic project, indeed. It was a beautiful casket, one that Dylan would have loved. But Dylan also loved VW Buses and all things hippie. He was a free spirit, and had a very creative mind. So Travis told everyone to write something on the casket, and he had an assortment of colored Sharpies with which to do it. I thought that maybe a few kids would write on it, or that his closest hippie friends would. But to my surprise and joy, nearly everyone there wrote something, some message, or just drew a flower, a sun, or a peace sign. It looked amazing when it was done. No one could agree more, that this service couldn't have been any more perfect, if Dylan had written the script to it himself.

To my friend Dylan: I love you Man. You were one of the good ones. You had reached points in your life that were ahead of your time; points I can only hope to reach at some point. I will miss you Friend. Thank you for sharing yourself with all of us before you had to go. We'll see you on the flip-flop.

We began making his ca

Monday, May 4, 2009

My baby boy is 6 months old!!!

The past 6 months have truly been a highlight, if not THE highlight, of my life. Jericho has been such an amazing addition to mine and Brynn's life together. I have never before experienced happiness and love as I now understand them. I experience such intense emotion whenever I kiss my son goodnight. (Very unfortunately, I have a cold sore right now, which sort of hampers this.) He's becoming a little boy now. Almost seems like he's done being a baby. Somewhere, he's learned this tough guy voice and he loves to make it, especially when he's standing up. It's so funny.
I always heard about the joys and such of having kids from friends of mine; how you can't wait to get home after work to be with them; how amazing it is to see you and your mate in that child; and how you've never experienced love like this until you have a child. All true.
Physically, Jericho is looking more and more like Brynn, lucky for him. He's definitely got her big, beautiful, blue eyes. I like to think that he smiles like me. (That's about all I can see in him anymore). But he's growing so quickly. I almost wish I could put his growth and development on pause, this is such an amazing time in his little life. I haven't measured him in inches but I think he's right around 20lbs. Definitely going to be bigger than me.
One thing is for sure, and that is that he can melt your heart in an instant--no matter how bad or great your day has been. If I'm down, blue, or stressed, all I need is a big dose of Jericho.
Brynn, being her usually thoughtful self, bought his a cake for his 6 month birthday. I think all he got was a couple of tastes of icing, which he seemed to dig pretty well. But we're just so happy he's ours and I feel so incredibly blessed and fortunate to be a part of his life.
Happy Birthday, Son. Daddy loves you.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Wolf Issue; Volume IV

I've thought for years about the reasons man fears the wolf. I think there are numerous reasons, not the least of which is misunderstanding. From the time humans are youngsters, they're taught that wolves are to be feared. There are countless legends about werewolves, a monster which is a man-wolf hybrid. Little Red Riding-Hood had a bad experience with a wolf, dressed as her grandmother. And the Three Little Pigs were afraid that their houses would be blown down by the Big Bad Wolf. I cannot recall a book or nursery rhyme about a good wolf. Many books, pictures, and movies portray wolves as scary, bloody creatures, with huge fangs and an appetite for babies. An interesting research topic is the number of sharks killed shortly after the Jaws movies were released on the big screen. And such was the wolves' fates, nearly to the point of their extinction, until the 70s when attitudes finally began to change.

I think another, more obscure psychological reason for hating or fearing wolves, is that wolves are so similar to men. Man has made the mistake, time and time again in history, of killing that which he has not understood, or those by whom he has felt threatened. And wolves were no exception. How are people and wolves alike? Well, lets start with the obvious; they are social, living in family units, called packs. Humans seem to get joy, happiness, or fulfillment from their families and friends. A wolf's very survival depends on his relationship and bond with the pack. People get all giddy and full of joy when a new baby is born into their family. And the birth of new pups is the most exciting time of the year for a pack of wolves. As I have stated previously, only the alpha male and female reproduce, but the new pups belong to the entire pack. Each member from the alphas to the omegas, has new joys and new responsibilities with the babies. The adult wolves all take part in feeding, baby-sitting, teaching, and playing with the pups. And before the pups are born, there is the job of caring for the pregnant female. At some point, she becomes unable to go out and hunt, but still has to eat. It has been witnessed many times that the other pack members will bring food to the mother in her den. The pack truly works like a family, everyone looking out for everyone. Again, their survival depends on it. (Sound a lot like your family?) By the way, that member to member care and loyalty doesn't stop at the alpha female. It's been witnessed of wolves in captivity when a wolf becomes old, sick, or injured, that other healthy wolves will bring food to that wolf. At any rate, it doesn't take long to see just how alike wolves and humans are. It's unfortunate that this fact has been cause for fear, rather than respect and understanding.

The following is an excerpt from the research of L. David Mech, probably the most well-known wolf biologist in the U.S:

Very few mammals have symbiotic relationships with other creatures. One
of the few exceptions is the *wolf*:

"The *wolf* seems to have few relationships with other animals that
could be termed purely social, though he apparently takes pleasure in
the company of ravens. The *raven*, with a range almost as extensive as
the wolf's, one that even includes the tundra, commonly follows hunting
wolves to feed on the remains of a kill." (Barry Lopez, Of Wolves And
Men, p. 67)

The *raven* is sometimes known as "*wolf*-bird," and some zoologists
speculate that its *relationship* with wolves may be assisted by their
psychological make-up:

"It appears that the *wolf* and the *raven* have reached an adjustment
in their relationships such that each creature is rewarded in some way
by the presence of the other and that each is fully aware of the other's
capabilities. Both species are extremely social, so they must possess
the psychological mechanisms necessary for forming social attachments.
Perhaps in some way individuals of each species have included members of
the other in their social group and have formed bonds with them." (David
Mech, The *Wolf*: The Ecology and Behaviour of an Endangered Species)

The relationship between wolves and ravens is so interesting to me. Sort of a, "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" thing.

Well, this was a short entry. Probably a relief to most of you. I think this may be the final entry on this topic, unless I decide to post updates on wolf numbers and other stats, such as numbers of killed wolves or pack and pup numbers from year to year. Unless any of you have specific questions that I haven't yet addressed.

Thanks for your interest in one of my greatest passions.