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I love coffee. Sometimes people try to switch my coffee to decaf when I’m not looking. I can always tell the difference. I also like Pringles, but only the reduced fat kind because they crunch better when you bite into them and they don’t leave grease on your fingers. I’m…

About Me
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As part of our quest to support women’s issues, Katana Photography is excited to announce our first ever Celebrating Survival contest!
Having any kind of cancer is frightening and confusing. In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Katana Photography is welcoming all survivors from all forms of cancer to participate…

Weekly Photo
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When I was looking to buy my wedding invitations (back in April), I found a lot of designers on Etsy. After narrowing it down to a couple different designs/companies, I contacted both for their pricing list. One was pretty significantly more expensive–almost $2 per invitation more. Which I think all…

Weekly Style
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When talking to people about photography, I hear one phrase over and over again: Kids and dogs are the hardest subjects to photograph.
I, personally, don’t have this problem with my clients…kids and dogs are among my favorite things to photograph. Maybe it’s because I like to have any excuse…

Weekly Puppies
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Last week, Sean and I had our morning coffee on the balcony and watched as the Enterprise shuttle was pulled down the Hudson on a tug boat. It’s on its way to the Intrepid and I can’t wait to see it up close at the museum!

Weekly Coffee

LunaChat

“Morning mom! Can you hear me? Here, I’ll lick your face for a bit to make sure you know I’m talking to YOU.

So, I know it’s an hour before you usually wake up, but I thought I heard a click. And I then I thought perhaps that quiet click noise was the sound of your alarm going off. And I would hate for you to be late because your alarm clock was malfunctioning. Mom? Mom! MOM!!! Well, now that you’re up, can we go out? It’s not because I have to go to the bathroom, because I don’t yet, and when you let me out I’m just going to sit there like a moron. Because I’m retarded. Or at least, I like you to think I am because it means I don’t get in as much trouble when I eat your saltines and pee all over the floor.”
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“I see that strange electronic thingy in your lap which you constantly tap your fingers against. And I totally know that means you’re working…but I’m bored. And I need you to amuse me. No, NO, I do not want that bone! BARK! It has no flavor left and it just sits there. BARK! BARK! That bone doesn’t throw itself mama! Ok, that’s good…you hold one end and I’ll tug on the other. Oops, sorry! Your thumb got in the way of my teeth. You should really be more careful, mama.

Well, you give up rather easy. I’m very strong, I know, but a little more effort on your part would be appreciated. I’ve been patient all morning, so if you don’t acknowledge me soon, I’m going to start pacing back and forth in front of you and barking loudly. And then I will intermittently lay my pathetic head in your lap, resting my chin on that button that makes you scream and yell words whose meanings I don’t understand, but the tone…the tone, I get. And again, you can’t get mad because I’m just your retarded little Katrina rescue. And then you’ll have to get up and play with me.

Mom? BARK! Why aren’t you getting up? BARK!!

You apparently don’t love me.

You’ve never loved me.”
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“I know that when your friends come over, I’m not supposed to jump on them. But how else am I supposed to show my excitement? A tail wag just simply is not enough to show you how happy I am to have visitors. And I know that there’s that one guy specifically who I’m supposed to leave alone. But that guy obviously doesn’t like me and I think he should. And I know everyone else visiting loves me, but that one guy, that guy is the one who needs my attention most.

And I know that when he’s sitting across the room, eyeing me warily, that he’s really just inwardly hoping I’ll run over to him and springboard off the ottoman into his lap, licking his face with my gassy, sphincter-licking breath. I mean, he must enjoy that. Even if he doesn’t like me, he’s got to like it when I put both my paws on his shirt, leaving my signature print of dirt and mud. I think that if you just let me persist, that he will indeed like me by the time he leaves tonight. Especially after I sneeze in his coffee.

Mom? Mom? Why are you hanging your head like that?”
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“But, mama…you don’t understand. Stop yelling for a second. That hole NEEDED to be dug. There was something moving in there and I needed to protect you from it! Well, don’t waste your time looking now…it’s not there anymore. But I’ll let you know the second it comes back.

What are you doing? Why are you filling in my hole? That took me the whole morning! Oh well, I’ll just start over tomorrow.”
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“You’re talking into that thing again! BARK! That small, weird looking thing that you hold up to your ear! BARK! And your voice gets very loud when you talk to that thing and I just don’t understand! BARK BARK! Who are you talking to? And why so loud, mom? Seriously, I know we’re from the south and all, but that accent rarely surfaces this strongly. Usually only when you talk into that THING AGAINST YOUR EAR and when you drink from the bottle with the cork in it.”
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“I know YOU don’t love me, but YOUR mom loves me. And when I go sit by her side and perk my ears up and wag my tail with my cute little wrinkled face in her lap, she always gives me snacks. Like that time she cooked a whole pork chop JUST FOR ME! And we all ate dinner together off of the most expensive china you own. And by “china” I mean your Pier 1 plates, of course. And then, there was that time that she shared an entire can of Pringles with me, one by one, even though you told her not to. And I went into your living room, tummy rumbling and threw up every last piece of Pringle and Kibble and leftover hotdog from dinner all over your new white couch. And you had to wake up several times in the night to take me for a walk while I pooped liquid.”
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“What is this thing you’re doing with your hands? You’re rubbing them against me! That must mean it’s playtime! And I’m going to fling my body around and knock you in the face with my hard, hard head because I’m SOEXCITEDTHATYOUWANTTOPLAYWITHME! And this tail of mine—yeah, I know that it kind of feels like I’m slashing you with a whip, but I really can’t control it. I swear. I even hit myself in the face sometimes, and I agree…it hurts.

What? Why are you pulling me toward you? Are we wrestling now? Ohh, I like wrestling!

Ohhh, I get it. You’re in that weird mood that you humans feel sometimes where you just need to hold me. And your face—it’s leaking again. Here, mom, let me lick that for you. Mm, you taste like cookies. Did you eat cookies today without me? It’s ok, I guess…but next time, you’d better share them!

Aw, I love you too, mama.”

Life with a Dog. Much Different than Life with a Latte.

Life with a Dog. Much Different than Life with a Latte.
A couple factoids about me: I was raised, first in Pennsylvania and then moved to the south just prior to puberty. I grew up in an Irish Catholic family, which essentially means that life was filled with rosary beads, guilt, and fatal amounts of whiskey.

There was also never a day that we didn’t have at least one dog as a member of our family. Dogs and animals, as a general, are a part of my soul. A reason for living. Our first dog I remember was Bear. Bear was an enormous white boxer who we rescued just hours before he was supposed to be put to sleep. We named him Bear because he looked like a polar bear. (Hey—blame my siblings! I was only 10 days old when he arrived!) He was a lazy son of a bitch—only rose from napping when food was present. Bear was my buddy and very protective of me as a baby. He would allow me to reach my pudgy little hands and grab the softened Kibble from inside his mouth. And before my mother could rush over to stop me…I would swallow it (Yes, I was the child who ate ants on the playground).

We found our next dog when I was four. She was named Cupcake because Bear could have eaten her in two bites like a cupcake. (Again—we were young, cut us some slack) We decided to adopt her because my sister, Bridget, desperately wanted a cat, but my brother and mom were highly allergic. My parents compromised and we found a small dog, who was like a cat in so many ways. She was the leader of the pack. The bitch of the house. Any time we would pet her, she’d roll her eyes up at us saying, “How dare thee get thy hand oils on my precious coat!” Then, snapping her head away, “Go! Get me a rawhide!”

When I was ten, we bought another boxer. A beautiful fawn boy, who was tiny enough to curl into our laps. This lasted a whopping three weeks before his weight began to crush my ten year-old chicken legs. There were now three dogs in the Katana household. This time around, none of us could agree on what to name him. Arguments broke out and fists started swinging. I can’t remember who wanted what, but we ended up “compromising” and naming him everything: Sir Reginald Octavious Smithe of Lancaster County. (I hope to God in Heaven that I am not the one who was voting for Smithe!) We called him Reggie for short. He was the most playful of all three dogs, constantly wiggling around you, curling his body into a U shape so that you would scratch his rear.

A couple years after Reggie entered the family, we moved to North Carolina and lost Bear. The move must have been too much for him. While no dog can ever replace one you’ve had, a new, energetic life can sure lift your spirits. That’s when we rescued MacDuff (Duffy) from the local shelter. He was a lab-pit mix. Very wiry. Very energetic. Very dominant. Cupcake was not pleased with this new Mister and they constantly fought for the throne. Eventually, they learned to live together. And by “learned” I mean Duff relinquished dominance.

We lost Reggie much too soon. He was only five years old when he died of a heart murmur that our veterinarian had missed. Soon after Reggie passed, Duffy attacked my mom. As in, full out attacked, would not stop biting, drawing blood, and went for her throat. She needed stitches—I can’t recall how many. I think I have blocked the details of this memory from my mind. It turned out that Duffy had a brain tumor that triggered severe aggression. He needed to be put to sleep. Losing both Duff and Reggie so unexpectedly and abruptly damaged all of us. So, why? Why do we do it? Why do we continue to let such amazing and dynamic animals into our hearts and grow attached to them, if in a few years, our hearts will be shattered into a billion pieces? It’s a question I still don’t have an answer for. But perhaps it is because my life is more full when in their presence. Maybe it’s because they provide a love so unconditional that my human brain can’t comprehend it. Or maybe it’s because I like having someone to blame my gas on.

Our hearts eventually mended from the loss of Reggie and Duff, but the scars still remain. That’s when we found Mojo. A brindle boxer whose spirit was unbreakable. And soon after this, we rescued a mutt that needed us. A white…something. His breed is still somewhat of a mystery. Perhaps a pit/bulldog/boxer mix? We named him Weejes, after my sister since she was the one who found him (We call Bridget ‘Beejes,’ and somehow that transformed into Weejes over the years). As the runt of the litter, he suffered from slight retardation due to a lack of oxygen when he was born. He was a tough dog to train. We would teach him a command only to have him forget what he had learned within seconds. He was afraid of everything. The steps to our backyard, the hair dryer, the vacuum, the mop…basically anything that made noise or moved or looked strange MUSTBESOMESORTOFDEMON!!! Weejes passed away earlier this year, as well. Another great dog, lost too soon to cancer.

Cupcake passed at the very old age of 16 while I was away at college. She lived a full and long life and will forever be remembered as the queen of the Katana household.

For my 21st birthday, my parents bought me my first dog, Gracie, while I was still in school. She is a brindle boxer (are you seeing a pattern yet?). Unfortunately, I could not give Gracie the attention she deserved with my class schedule, extracurriculars, job, internship, etc . We had no set routine—walks were sporadic, she had no yard or outlet for exercise and in a couple of months, it became very apparent that she would be a much happier pooch with my parents. Besides, my parents were now in a house with no dogs since Bo had taken Mojo and Weejes with him when he moved out. When I brought Gracie back, our home sparked with life once again and I knew I had made the best and selfless choice.

Two and a half years ago, I finally found my dog. In actuality, I believe that she chose me, not the other way around. When I saw her black face peacefully sleeping, I knew I was ready…mature enough to handle taking care of another life.

Yes, I found Ms. Luna. The Katrina Survivor. The Katana Reviver.
(A rhyme that bad should never go to waste!)