Friday, March 31, 2006


So, it’s kind of like a recipe, I explained. JD stared at me blankly from bed, surrounded by little clouds of crumpled tissue. For instance, I continued, someone works on a series of layers in Photoshop—doing all these crazy things with curves and opacity—and it’s so good that people are willing to buy it. JD popped a cough drop in his mouth and ruminated.

I knew that if I explained it in cooking terms, he’d get it. He has a not-so-secret crush on Giada de Laurentiis. We’ve spent lazy Saturday afternoons watching her show, only to recreate her menu for dinner. Rustic Italian potatoes, risotto, bruschetta…the list goes on.

JD was sick, so darted from one corner or our room to the other in hopes of getting his mind of his cold. When he got home from work, I was on the phone with a wonderful photographer. Liana was explaining how to use certain actions for modifying my pictures in Photoshop. I was literally amazed with what she was saying. She sent me an email earlier in the day with a couple of her “recipes” and I was floored with her kindness.

It’s like a chef at Cordon Bleu just handing over his prized recipe, I animatedly spouted. Can you believe it? I can’t believe it…can you?

I didn’t give him the chance to answer. My mind was already flying at light speed. I had to pick some pictures. I needed to fix them. I needed to post them. Post them…argh.

Liana had one condition: If she shared her info, I HAD to post some pictures. So, just like that, I was thrown to the wolves. Every chef has a knife…and she’s not afraid to use it! ☺

So, JD asked, when do you have to post the pictures?

By Saturday, I replied. I have to cook a picturesque meal by Saturday.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Vase

But I think it’s very nice, JD said trailing a few feet behind me.

I stopped in my tracks, turned to face him, and tried to reason. Yes, I said, it’s lovely, but must we spend that much on a vase? Surely in this big store lies another vase that’s not as expensive.

I faced forward and began walking. I hate feeling like the frugal one in this duo. I know I have issues with spending money on certain things—like vases for instance, or name brand raisins for that matter—but the roots of my financial paranoia go deep. Like Yosemite Redwood deep.

I grew up poor. I am not embarrassed of this fact, in fact I’m proud of it. But this doesn’t negate the idea that I like having money in the bank. I hate looking at money as a security blanket. Blankets develop holes over time, so I have to learn to stay unattached.

But, like I said, my roots are deep.

I couldn’t fathom spending good money on a vase, especially when we have a few at home.

Yes, JD countered, there are a lot of vases here, but none as nice as this. He held the amber-colored vase, complete with beveled lines, out in front us once he caught up to me. I had already seen the vase. I liked the vase. But we didn’t need it. At this point in my life, need outweighs want. Could we afford the vase? Yes. But did we need it? That was the point of contention.

Waiting to purchase our goods, I walked out of line and looked at other items while JD talked with the sales associate. He grabbed our bags and headed to the car. As we loaded the bags into the backseat, I glanced at the receipt. Hmmm, the total seemed higher than I anticipated. Funny.

Upon further inspection, I saw it. The amber-colored vase. He bought it.

I thought I made my point clear. But, nooooo, now we have a new vase. I don’t get it, I told JD. Were you really that attached to it, I asked. He shrugged and said, I guess.

We made our way home and he opened the front door for me, the way he always does, and I turned on the light. Oh god…please no. I’m so mean. I’m a horrible, horrible wife.

On our dining room table was a dozen white long-stem roses. Without a vase.

JD silently placed the delicate flowers in the vase, filled it with water, and handed it to me. Happy sixth-month anniversary, he said.

I laughed. I laugh when I don’t know what to do. I was so embarrassed, and I felt terribly.

He hugged me and kissed my forehead. I hope you like the vase, he whispered.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Oh so sweet

I walked into my parents’ home and the smells of stir-fry ushered me in. I love visiting my family. We’re extraordinarily close and although there are sometimes knots, the ties the bond us are unbreakable. And knots can be unknotted.

My mother has been very ill for the past six years. She battled two rare forms for cancer for three years ago, and still hasn’t fully recovered. The doctors claim Cancer packed his bags and left, but he left a mess in his place. The mess, we just discovered, has taken the form of relapsing polychrondritis. To which, there is no cure.

My mom is taking matters into her own hands…and God’s. Last week—after reading up extensively on the issue—she decided to lead a strict vegan lifestyle. She pledged for the next two months to detox her body, eating only natural foods.

Hence, the stir-fry. Fresh bok choy and snow peas littered the kitchen counter and a pot of bhasmati rice simmered softly. Last night the family decided to join my mother in a homemade vegan meal in support of her decision. Plates of moo-shu tofu and mushrooms were passed around the table, but my brother passed on every option. He opted for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Which, by the way, is the only thing a 15-year-old boy can make.

We held hands and prayed for our food, and my mother’s health.

I had a surprise for everyone. I just finished editing my wedding pictures from my first wedding (I’m telling you, I’ve been swamped!) and I took my laptop to show everyone my work. I dimmed the lights and set to mood. Lights always set the mood. I flipped open my laptop and let the images float across the screen. Everyone was silent, only asking for the Perrier to be moved from the middle of the table.

At the end, everyone cheered. No, really, they cheered. But that’s my family. They’re loud and opinionated and supportive. So, they cheered. My sisters asked me to be their wedding photographer, which I found peculiar seeing how they aren’t even dating anyone, but I was honored either way.

For dessert, cantaloupe and plums were sliced and nibbled on. The fruit was sweet, but my family is so much sweeter.

Monday, March 27, 2006


Sorry I haven't posted for the past week. I've been so busy I hardly had time to breathe, much less soak in everything that's happened.
Below you'll read what happened and how my life has changed dramatically in a few short days.
Just a warning, the entries might make more sense if they were read in their chronological order, so feel free to scroll down and then work your way up.


There was a time when I questioned where God wanted me. Where—in this crazy place called life—was I headed and how long the expedition would be. Then I realized it’s not about the destination, but about the journey.

I grabbed my backpack, started my car, and headed to Palos Verdes. On my drive, I reflected on my week. How did things happen so fast? I no longer felt like I was moving in a particular direction, but, rather, being pushed. Even if I tried sticking my heels in the ground, I’d leave shoe imprints instead of staying still.

Just a few days earlier, I received an email from David Jay and he invited me to shoot along side him. At first, I was sure he emailed the wrong person. I mean, he must have meant the other Jasmine Star. Right?

Before I made my way into the Hilton Hotel, I was greeted with a big hug and a matching smile. DJ told me how happy he was to have me there with him. If he only knew. Just a few months earlier I was DJ’s bride and now we were going to shoot a wedding together. I couldn’t have dreamed for such a blessed opportunity.

We decided to have breakfast before we started shooting. Over eggs Benedict and a warm waffle, we talked about everything. Life. Business. God. Life. I promise, the only things missing were glasses of chilled lemonade and burning fireflies to make it like a scene out of a movie.

What struck me the most was DJ insisting that one of the most vital things to succeed in this industry is faith. Faith that a business will blossom. Faith in thinking outside of the box. Faith that the journey is just as important as the destination. DJ had no clue how close to home his words were hitting. Every sentence pricked my heart because I knew I needed faith more than I needed anything else. I hung onto his words—picking them out of midair and filing them away in the Never Forget file in my brain—and instantly knew it was the sign I was looking for. God used him as my confirmation. I’m going forward full-throttle with photography and I’m faithful I will succeed.

By the time we began shooting, I my heart was so full I though it might explode. I watched DJ as he floated around the room almost silently, only pausing to capture a moment. And to capture it beautifully. He kept the afternoon light and fun, so the experience was better than I could have ever imagined.

I’ll spare the oh-my-god-can-the-ground-please-open-up-and-swallow-me-whole moments because [in retrospect] they don’t matter. I dreaded the idea of opening that part of myself to a third party. The part of me that likes to keep things under wrap until they’re perfect. I didn’t want DJ seeing the images on my LCD screen…I wanted to crop, color correct, erase, burn, lasso, and ShowIt effect them before he saw what I’m made of. I like things perfect.

Instead, upon seeing a mistake, he gently fixed a setting, proffered a lens, or patted my shoulder. He couldn’t have been more gracious. Or kind. Or simply wonderful. I learned more from my mistakes than had I taken the perfect picture.

And mistakes are part of the journey, so I’ll have to learn how to live with them until I arrive at my destination.


JD helped me load my backpack. He plugged in my batteries to recharge overnight and I reformatted my memory cards. He bought me protein bars earlier that evening and placed them in the front pocket. I made a list of things to do before I left for the wedding the following morning. I love lists.
*Get directions
*Iron pants
*Replace AA batteries in flash

Scrawled in different penmanship was:
*Love your husband

Nervously, I tried falling asleep. I couldn’t believe it was happening…


I look fat, I hollered at JD. He was shaving in the bathroom and I was hopelessly staring at myself in a full-length mirror in our bedroom. No, you don’t, he calmly replied. You’re just being self-conscious and I love you the way you are…what else matters?

I sighed. I still look fat, I mumbled. Hey, JD said, I heard you!

We were getting ready for a bridal shoot with Mike Colon. It was the last day of his seminar and he asked us to model for him again. JD and I modeled for his last Newport Beach seminar so we knew what we were in for this time. I learn so much from Mike so when he asked me to help him out with the class, I unabashedly said yes. JD said yes because it means a lot to me. I secretly think that JD likes the photo shoots because we get to make-out for a good cause ☺

After the shoot, I said goodbye to my new photographer friends and placed their business cards in my purse.

The sun was setting as we drove home, so there was an orange glow around JD’s face as I stared at him from the passenger’s seat. He reminded me of religious paintings I studied during undergrad Art History classes. Paintings where saints stoically stare toward Heaven with their hands cupped over their hearts, and a glowing rim about their faces. He reminded me of a saint.

I make no qualms about being biased. I think my husband is fantastically perfect. We had a friendship before a relationship, so we fell in love in the best way possible. I think he’s a saint. And as we drove home, he looked like one too.


I weaved through lanes and cars like I was making an afghan. I hate morning traffic through the OC. I passed cars with surfboards attached to the top and cars filled with screaming kids on their way to Disneyland and cars where drivers looked catatonic on their way to work. I, on the other hand, was headed to a photo shoot with Mike Colon and his class. I probably looked just as excited as the kids on their way to Disneyland. No, I looked happier. Just sans Mickey-ears.

Mike invited me the day before. Come hell or high water, I knew I’d be there. Today, unlike yesterday, I am going to be on the backside of the camera. The backside is my favorite side.

The shoot was orchestrated by an OC wedding dress designer, for whom Mike was shooting publicity shots. I pulled into the gravel parking lot and took my first look at the empty warehouse. I imagined what beautiful images would be made within such a stark building.

After three hours of milling around, our first model was ready. The lights were set. An iPod played somewhere in the background. The wedding dress glowed against the navy backdrop. And the magic began.

Mickey Mouse’s Magical Kingdom--just a few miles down the road--had nothing on this place.

There were times when I shot, but there were also times when I stood back and watched Mike. He’s what Sade would call a “Smooth Operator”. The guy caresses his camera and fondles her and loves her tenderly so the only thing she returns is breathtaking images. I need to learn how to love my camera in the same way. I love my camera like a mail-ordered bride. I love her, but I don’t know how to make her fully trust me. Not yet anyway.

I had to leave the shoot early. Waiting at a red-light before getting onto the 5 Freeway, I scrolled through my images.

Every so often, my camera loved me back. She gave me love shots. It was as if my mail-ordered bride blew me a kiss.


Pleeease…pleeeeease!?! Can you please come to the shoot with me?

I pled with my twin sister dramatically in hopes that she’d cave in. Just like a coal mine, she finally crumbled. I’m supposed to be writing my thesis, she pouted just before we hung up. I know, but I’d do it for you, I retorted. And just with that phrase—the Holy Grain of twin verbiage—she knew she was making the right decision.

An hour later, I was sitting on her bed insisting I wasn’t going to dress like her. I.Will.Not.Dress.The.Same. I tried in vain to explain that we’d grown out of that phase 20 years ago. But she wasn’t buying it. She was playing tough and then gave me a taste of my own medicine: I’d do it for you, she coyly said. Check mate.

We made our way out to Mike Colon’s Newport Beach studio, but didn’t talk much because my sister was pecking psychotically on her Blackberry. You’re going to get arthritic thumbs if you keep that up, I said. I know, I know, she groaned. She informed me she was emailing her professors letting them know she was still on track for completing her thesis on time. Riiiight. What does your thesis have to do with Mike Colon, I asked. She laughed and her thumbs kept on pecking like chickens.

Twenty-five photographers snapped away as Mike instructed the class effortlessly. The sun was shining, but the wind stung as sea air whipped across our faces.
Look this way…
Now here.
Over here….no, me…
Turn your heads toward the sun…

At the end of the shoot, Mike asked us if we’d frolic in the water. With goosebumps on her arms, I shot my sister a look that telepathically told her: I’d do it for you. So we frolicked.

Our jeans were soaked with the Pacific coast, but we laughed deliriously back to the car. We’re not models, but we had fun acting like we were.

Later that night, I got a call from Mike’s assistant. Jasmine, you got to check out Mike’s website…you’re on the portfolio link!

Never in a million years. No, a trillion years. Never would I have thought I’d be able to meet and befriend Mike Colon. And now, I stared at myself on his website.

What a day.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Moving toward Joy

I sat in church and nervously rung my fingers. To the untrained eye, I might have appeared to be guilty and in need of repentance. In need of forgiveness.

Once the congregation was dismissed, I bolted out the front doors and dashed to my car. I searched the radio for a cool song. A song that might pump me up. Instead, it was like the scene from “Jerry Maguire”. I couldn’t find the right song, so I kind-of-sort-of mumbled along to a Pat Benatar song. Beeeecause the night belongs to lah-vers, I sang, because the night belongs us! The rest of the song found me thumbing my fingers on the steering wheel. It so could have been better.

I pulled into “The Turnip Rose” parking lot in Newport Beach and glanced lovingly at my new Tenba camera bag. JD bought me a few more lenses a few days ago and they were safely tucked away, hugged by the grey padding. I was ready to shoot my first wedding.

The peace I felt during the day was incredible. Sure, I was trepid, but in a good way. The way one might feel before a marathon. A cocktail of adrenaline, excitement, and a splash of nerves. Shaken, not stirred.

At the end of the night, I felt like I bonded with the bride, the groom and their families.

The night air was crisp as I walked out to my car after the reception. My fingers cramped as I tried opening my door. No, really, they cramped. Carrying my camera for 10 hours had an arthritic affect on my fingers. I peeled off my shoes and flung them on the passenger seat, right next to my camera bag. My feet throbbed, but I felt more pain in my knees. I rolled my pant legs over my knees and gasped when I saw that they were black and blue.

Whoa. The next time I shoot a wedding, I’ll be sure to wear knee-pads, bring Bengay for my fingers, and wear a pair of tacky Aerosoles. Sure, I might look like I’m going to a geriatrics convention, but it might be worth it. Then again, maybe not.

All this pales in comparison to my experience. I loved my day. And I have pictures to prove it.

On my drive home, I didn’t have the compulsion to sing along to a retired pop song. I didn’t need Pat Benatar; I had my thoughts to entertain my mind. I reflected on the day and was so thankful for the experience. It feels good to be moving in this direction. It feels good to move toward joy.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Learning to Love a Hippie

With the light from our courtyard breaking into our dark room, I stared at the ceiling. Jagged shadows crisscrossed the room and the fluorescent numbers on the clock read 2:14. Often times, it’s in the silence of night when my mind’s eye is looking for answers.

I’m the type of person who makes lists. Grocery lists. Christmas shopping lists. Things-to-do lists. I get a rush crossing off itemized entries. I feel accomplished and proactive. I love lists.

But life, like love, doesn’t fit neatly on a yellow legal pad. For so long, I’ve wanted to plan my professional life in a series of lists. What camera lenses to buy. What photography books to read. What steps I need to take to establish and differentiate myself in an ultra competitive industry. However, whenever I try to compose such a list, it ends in disarray. There are some things that can’t take written form.

It takes a lot to admit that starting my business may not fit in a traditional business plan. I graduated summa cum laude with a BA in Business Administration, so I’m a product of logic and reason. I’m not afraid of balance sheets and business plans; in fact, I love their tangible qualities. I went to law school long enough to know that rational thinking, as opposed to emotional feeling, is the best way to view things in a contractual sense.

Trying to begin my photography business, however, is a whole other universe. If the business world were a parent, then photography would be its Hippie step-child. Instead of a suit, Photography wants to wear a tie-dyed shirt, slip a flower behind her ear, and refuse to wear a bra.

Are you awake, JD skeptically asked.
Is everything okay?
Yea, don’t worry about it. I’m fine.
Jaz, what are you thinking about?
Please stop worrying about it. God’s in control. Everything will happen as it’s supposed to.

And with that, I was able to flirt with sleep. As I slipped into REM, I was reassured that, yes, God was in control and everything happens as it’s supposed to.

When I awoke this morning, I remembered dreaming of dancing Hippies. Go figure. ☺

Monday, March 13, 2006

Perfect Timing

Okay. I’m sorry I’m late. It’s so my fault. Don’t worry though, I’ll get you there before they leave.

My brother anxiously tapped his fingers on the middle console. He’s going to Japan today and I am in charge of getting him with his group on time. I was running 45 minutes behind schedule. I’m a horrible, horrible sister.

Listen, if we miss the group, I’ll be sure to drive you to LAX personally. He turned to me and smiled crookedly. That was his way of letting me know I was forgiven.

When I saw the airport shuttles in the parking lot, I breathed a sigh of relief. Within a nanosecond, I was no longer a horrible sister. I was ain’t-nothing-but-a-chicken-wing, why-did-you-doubt-me, I-should-race-for-Nascar, sister.

We hastily checked his baggage and I told him to call me when he arrived in Osaka. I snapped too many pictures of him, so when I asked some kid’s mom to take a picture of us, I was seriously losing cool points. He grumbled, ooooone more picture only. We hugged and kissed. As the shuttle pulled away, he saw me crying. He pressed his fingers to the window, with his ring and middle finger folded downward, and gave me the sign language formation for ‘I love you’.

I signed ‘I love you’ back.

As I was leaving, I saw this little boy give his sister a hug. How cute. Wait, I have my camera. I asked their mother if I could snap a few pictures of them. She agreed and I snapped away. The sun was shining brightly and the background was bleak, but I worked my camera like it was running a sprint.

I now have enough images to complete my Photoshop class assignment. So my morning began with melancholy falling from my eyes, but I’m ready to work now. I’m ready to turn my sadness into good work. I think that’s the way it’s supposed to be…

Friday, March 10, 2006

Dressing Naked Walls

I called Cheremoya this morning to confirm our shoot. It lifted my heart when she told me her kids were waiting by the door for me.

I met Cheremoya a couple weeks ago.

It was a warm afternoon when Cheremoya walked into the lobby with her three young children. They followed her like ducklings in a row and when she told them to sit, they did quietly. She was filling out community service paperwork, so she hardly looked up when I began talking to Bobo, her two-year-old son. Her other two daughters began asking me questions and I discovered that her children were not only well-behaved, but smart and articulate. I would have sat all afternoon with her children, but she said they had to leave.

Not wanting the opportunity to pass me by, I explained that I wanted to photograph her children. She was flattered as I explained how I believed her children’s personalities would transcend the lens and speak volumes. We exchanged numbers and chose a date to shoot.

Today was the shoot.

Now, I realize that in order to qualify for community service in California—and not pay a traffic ticket—a person’s financial situation must be bleak. When I pulled up to Cheremoya’s apartment, I realized she wasn’t an exception to the rule. Located in the outskirts of East Los Angeles, the olive green apartment building achingly stood off a main street. I climbed the flight of steps to her apartment and when I pushed the unlit doorbell, birds chirped instead of bells ringing.

I heard laughter on the other side of the door. Cheering almost. Cheremoya invited me in and the kids hugged my legs before I even stepped into the small living room. All three of them were talking at once and I tried in vain to keep up. Mommy took me out of school early. I watched Barney this morning. Oooh, can I touch your camera? Did you miss us? Take a picture of me. No, me.

Cheremoya gently calmed the children. The kids told me there was a playground nearby, so I excitedly agreed that we needed to ride the slide. One by one, Cheremoya put sweaters on the kids and off we went.

I tried catching candid moments, but whenever the camera was nearby, Bri immediately posed. Her right hand behind her head, her left arm on her hip, standing contraposto. I put the camera down and ran around with them for a while. They needed to relax.

During one of our breaks from ‘tag’, I learned that Daddy worked night-shifts and Mommy got hurt at work, so she stays home. I also learned that their older brother works at “Jack-in-the-Box” after school and don’t get home till real late.

My heart broke for these kids.

When we returned to the apartment, I realized that the white walls were blank. There were a few small frames scattered on the wall with snapshot photos cut awkwardly to fit in them. That’s when I decided. I’m going to do whatever I can provide a series of pictures to dress the naked walls. I’m praying that the pictures come out better than I can imagine. Not for me, but for Cheremoya and her babies.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Party Like it's your Burfday

At 12:01, I turned off the television. I waited for this moment. JD was sleeping peacefully when I leaned into ear and whispered, “Happy birthday”. He squeezed his eyes tightly and asked what time it was. It’s just after midnight on March, 7, which means you’re officially 26 years old. Aww, thanks Jazzy, JD mumbled. I know he must have been asleep by the time I finished singing the happy birthday song.

JD had to be at work at 6:30 this morning, so the only thing I remember was him kissing my head on his way out the door.

He called when I was at the gym. He agreed to meet my brother and me for lunch at a restaurant of his choice. When he said to meet him at “Big’s” I regretted foregoing my veto power. I had never been to this restaurant, but seeing how it was a lunch buffet of greasy American food, I had no desire to ever go. Com’on Jaz, you might like it.

To JD’s credit, it wasn’t that bad. We dined on pizza, potato wedges, mac-n-cheese…fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn…cheese bread and marinara sauce. It was a weird mix of American food, but it was a treat nevertheless. For dessert we licked soft-served ice cream cones.

I don’t think I’ll ever go back to “Big’s” because it’s really not my style, but I have to admit that I really enjoyed myself. JD has the uncanny ability to make me remember my childhood. If I were 10 years old again, I would have loved eating such a lunch. It would have been a perfect birthday meal. But somewhere down this path to adulthood, I started to worry about my weight, weighing the health implications of eating that sort of food, and forgot the joy that is derived from breaded potato wedges.

Sometimes I forget what it is to be a kid.

When I was 13, I had to sell chocolate bars as part of a soccer team fundraiser. I walked from house to house trying to lighten my “100 Grand” chocolate bar load, but when people declined, I became discouraged. I swore to myself that when I was an adult, I would always buy the proverbial chocolate bar. Last month, JD and I were walking into a restaurant late one night and passed by a girl selling chocolate bars. JD stopped and bought not one, but six chocolate bars. What are you doing, I asked rolling my eyes. What are we going to do with so much chocolate?! Patiently, he turned to me and said that he wanted the girl to go home and not worry about her standing in the dark at night. That’s when I remembered what my 13-year-old self promised my adult self.

JD reminds me of the kid inside. The kid that’s never supposed to age, even with passing birthdays.

Happy Birthday JD and may your inner child stay young forever!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Third time singin'

Surprise!!! My family screeched as JD walked into the party my parents so graciously planned. There were balloons. There was a fancy tiramasu birthday cake. And there was food…lots and lots of Italian food. The holiday dinnerware was brought out, including my mother’s these-come-out-twice-a-year toasting glasses, and a table covered in appetizers. Stuffed mushrooms. Bruschetta. Caprese. Prosciutto wrapped cantaloupe. Just looking at all the food made my jeans feel tighter.

JD’s birthday isn’t until tomorrow, but we celebrated on Saturday because they’ll be in Italy by tomorrow.

The chicken parmigiana was passed like a lightning bolt from hungry hands to hungry hands. Sun-dried tomato and basil pesto linguini was scooped in piles onto our plates, only to be accompanied by warm asparagus spears. And just in case we didn’t hit our daily caloric intake in a single sitting, fresh fontina cheese was grated on top. Dr. Atkins would have turned in his grave had he seen all the glorious carbs.

The neighbors might have mistaken us for a group of drunken sailors when we sang “Happy Birthday”. The cacophony of voice was a little disconcerting, but JD sat and smiled politely through our rendition—complete with my little sister inserting a ‘cha-cha-cha’ whenever there was a pause in the song.

I became a little melancholy when he blew out his candles.

Has another year slipped by? Where does the time go? It’s like a vapor and if I could put it in a jar, I would.

When the Neopolitan ice cream made its way out of the freezer, I was feeling better. Ice cream can do that for me.

I washed the dishes and watched JD and my brother play basketball in the backyard from the kitchen window. I laughed and cheered for whomever was losing. JD. JD. My brother. My brother. My brother. It was a close game and I laughed the entire way as I saw each of them pained as each basket counted against each other. JD won the game, but he did only to prove that his new age wasn’t going to get the best of him.

We hugged and kissed my family goodbye, thanked my sister for making such a wonderful lunch, then headed to meet JD’s family at their favorite steak house for dinner. Still being stuffed from lunch, I ordered a salad and nibbled on a baked potato. I wanted a bed more than I wanted food.

I found myself singing “Happy Birthday” for the second time, but with civilized counterparts. Civility is overrated and I missed the ‘cha-cha-cha’ to be honest. JD opened the iPod his parents bought him (per my recommendation, thank you very much) and said goodnight.

We fell asleep during the first ten minutes of the movie we were watching in bed. We were over-fed, over-stimulated, and over-loved. It was an exhausting day, but a wonderful day nonetheless.

I have a tough act to follow tomorrow, after such great birthday celebrations. It’ll be the third time I sing “Happy Birthday” and I promise, I’ll make it my best.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

In a dizzy

I have to make this short because I'm on my last breath of air. Between JD's two birthday parties yesterday and my brother's two basketball games today, I'm pretty much spent. I'm looking foward to just hanging out with JD tonight...underneath the covers, with our heater full blast, with out down comforter tucked beneath our feet. We rented two DVDs last Friday and we haven't had the time to sit and watch them. Maybe tonight. It'll be our third attempt, and third time's a charm, right?

Friday, March 03, 2006

My wedding photographer is the BOMB

Just in case anyone wants to know how fantastic my wedding photographer is, you can check this out. This is the latest issue of the magazine and will be widely distributed at the WPPI Conference in Las Vegas.
In case you're wondering, those feet belong to me and JD...

If you haven't already be sure to check out David Jay

Second best

The poems flowed from her lips, floated on the air, and landed densely on perched ears. We were listening, waiting for the poet’s words to move us from the pit of our souls. And did she move. Around the stage, into the audience, perhaps even into our hearts. Her words tied her thoughts like raffia, just tight enough to hold them together, but loosely enough to change their formation.

It was then when I decided I wanted to have my pictures impact others the way her words impacted me. She told a story, but did so indirectly. I want my pictures to tell a story where words are unheard, but emotion emanates from their sloppy borders.

Before the show, we hunkered in a dark corner of a Hillcrest sushi restaurant. With the warm towels distributed, we wiped our hands and immediately began picking at the garlic pan-fried edamame. As each one of us sucked the soy beans, we discussed Foucault and the impact he had in philosophy. Just as things were getting interesting, the conversation only got better when the gyozas were served. We dipped into many things—the ponzu sauce included—but what interested me the most was how wonderful my friends were.

My friends make me a better person. Furthermore, I know they’ll make me a better photographer. They challenge my perspective, both figuratively and literally, and this impacts how I capture an image.

Brianna leaned over the table and stole a piece of Melanie’s sushi. Why didn’t you steal the shrimp’s end piece, Melanie asked. You took the best piece from the middle, she scolded Brianna. So, Brianna said, you know I wouldn’t take the worst piece.

That pretty much sums my friends up. They won’t settle for second best. Knowing this, it makes me happy to be their friend.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Where's my medal?

This is the best thing ever. Dana showed me that this is the best thing to eat here in the cafeteria.

Brianna, my best friend of 12 years, is training at the Olympic Training Center in San Diego and invited my sister and me to spend the day in athletic paradise. She's standing in front of the frozen yogurt machine and explaining that she'll later fill her cup with rootbeer. We were eating in the USOTC cafeteria and catching up on each other's lives.

Later we're going to a poetry reading with her roommate. Melanie is driving down from L.A. and joining us for sushi and the reading.

Walking out from the cafeteria, the breeze was blowing and the sun was shining softly. I love being around my friends. And I love being around my friends after eating a rootbeer float. Life is good.

Life is probably made better because last night I had a critique in my Photoshop class. I was nervous as it was the first one and I was sure my assignment was going to be used as the "this is NOT what you should do," so I braced for the worst. JD and I were kind-of-sorta-not-really competing for the better grade, so I prayed for the prevailing score.

The assignments were lined in a row and while I hoped their positions were arbitrary, I knew they weren't. Before I saw where my assignment was laying, the professor stated they were organized according to his preference. Out of 25 assignments, mine was in the third position. Yesssssss! I totally thought I bombed the assignment, but I made the top three. Booyah.

You may wonder where JD placed. Let's just say his was good, but not good enough to take a place on the proverbial medal stand. In Olympic terms--seeing how I'm sitting at the Training Center--he didn't medal. He came in fifth. Which means I earned a bronze medal...and he, well, he...didn't.

I must sound evil and caddy. Because I am. I love him so much, but when it comes to a competition, I want to win. All.The.Time.

I'm going to ask Brianna what it feels like to win something big. Then I'll digest it like I did the rootbeer float--which was rather quickly--and tell JD really how wonderful it is to win a medal.

Okay, so I didn't win a medal, but having the third best project in class sure can feel darn close ;)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

I take it back

I think you like me. He looked at me like I was crazy. No, really, I think you like me, I said. He had just finished toweling himself off from his shower and crawled into bed, so his toes were cold as they wedged next to mine. His hair, wetting my shoulder as he leaned his head on it, smelled like coconut and jojoba.

What do you mean? Of course I like you, he said.

No, I mean you liiiike me. Even the stuff that annoys you, you like that too. You say you can’t stand when I don’t close my drawers or closets all the way, but I secretly think you like getting out of bed to close them. You like completing me. Oh, and when you ask why my shoes never quite make it all the way into the closet—and instead stand outside the door like waiting to get into a concert—I know you like putting them away for me. Your laugh betrays you.

This list could have gone on for a while. I could have mentioned my inability to fall asleep if the dishes weren’t washed or why I save left-overs only to throw them away, but there was no need. He got my point.

Yes, Jasmine, I like you.
I know.
Nevermind, I take it back.
I don’t like you. I love you.

And with that, I let him rest his head on my shoulder. I smelled the coconut again and went back to reading.