Keep doing it

You just have to work and not give up during the miserable times. And just keep doing it. It’s rewarding to keep doing it when you think you can’t do it any more. It just gets more interesting.”

~ Annie Leibovitz, Lesson 09, Master Class

Maya Angelou

Such a loss. I broke down in the car when I heard.

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Maya Angelou, 1928-2014

“I want for my mommy to come home and my daddy to stay in jail.”

This past Sunday, I once again had the pleasure and honor of acting as the Santa photographer at the annual Reno Fire Department’s Children’s Christmas Party.  It’s been going on for several years now and serves kids who are either homeless or living in shelters or motels.  The kids are paired up with mentors who take them through the Reno Ballroom where they can get a hot meal, do some arts and crafts, get their faces painted, pick up some clothes and toys, and visit with Santa (and get  a photo to take with them).   The mentors are a key part of this event. They sit with the kids, talk to them, listen.  Bonds are created, some lasting beyond the day.

For confidentiality purposes I cannot publish any of the kids’ photos, but here are a few of the volunteers that contributed to making the day a memorable one for these kids who have endured far more than any of us would want for our own children (or any child).  My blog title is the answer one little girl gave to Santa when he asked her what she’d like for Christmas.

This is Jana who coordinated and organized the event. Awesome!

Officer Daniels proves you can’t be too big or too tough to sit on Santa’s lap!

Hug High ROTC and Cheer represent.

More awesome volunteers!

Just a few of the Spanish Springs High cheerleaders who participated.

McQueen High in the house as well (my daughter’s alma mater).

Everyone smiles when they sit on Santa’s lap!

Santa is a retired Reno Firefighter.

My elves acted as a well-oiled machine, getting kids names, guiding them to Santa, printing and handing out the 4×6″ photographs.

My Epson R2000 kept up very well, and turned out excellent photos for the kids.

If you would like to see more of the fantastic volunteers, click on this Gallery Link

Two more I must share. So many organizations help to make this a great event for the kids, but none more so that the Silver Legacy Casino. I wish I could have gotten photos of all the people from the Silver Legacy who participated but here are two who were working very hard to make sure everything stayed neat and tidy.


Edward (who also brought Santa some coffee).

And after photographing everyone else, I took my turn with Santa.

How we spent our Saturday morning

Today was the Northern Nevada AIDS Walk at Idlewild Park in Reno.  In addition to the run and the regular 5k walk, there was a 3k Paws for the Cause walk. It appeared that most attendees were participating in that!  There were a lot of dogs.  We took Nina, but left Buddy at home. He doesn’t always play well with others and this event would have been too much for him. Nina, on the other hand, was in her element.

A few shots from the day. A mix of color and black and white.

This little one was pleading with her mommy for something!

One of the many dogs…

Morning coffee and the paper.

Beautiful pup.

Ooh…Dad has a treat!

Did I mention there were dogs?

All the dogs got a red ribbon. Nina, trekking along.

It was a fun morning and full of excitement for Nina. She was so tired and I thought for sure she’d conk out in the car, but she only napped for a bit.

Really…she was pooped.

Really pooped.

The blank stare of the incredibly weary . . .