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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

Argentinean Tango

Sean and I are taking dance lessons – tango lessons to be exact. And while we’re no Fred and Ginger, we are two of the better dancers in the class. We pick up the steps pretty easily and have the style down well. The only problem is that our Argentinean dance instructor is a little cranky sometimes. While he welcomes questions, he only welcomes them from the men. Because apparently according to Tango’s history the women never do any leading…THEY ALWAYS FOLLOW. And he makes this point about a gazillion times during each lesson.

“Ladies, stop thinking. Let go of preconceptions…just follow the man. You are not to lead. You should not be thinking, just let him lead you everywhere.” And the other women in the class seem to have no problem with this. It’s like, they slip on their dance shoes and all of a sudden their IQ drops 70 points.

Wednesday night I had a question as to why Sean and I kept ending on different feet. He responds by saying, “Why are you asking this? The man should be the one leading and thinking, not you!”

Now, I totally realize that this is part of the culture and part of the dance, but I have a lot of trouble completely entrusting all of the steps to my partner. Because A) Asking the instructor a question and following my dance partner are two completely separate things and B) Sean is doing it wrong. So, I simply looked at him and said, “Well, if the men are the only ones leading, and the men are the only ones thinking and allowed to ask questions…then the men should pay for the women to be at this lesson. Either that or I would like a refund of my $55. Because I don’t know about everyone else, but I certainly don’t want a lesson on how to follow. I want a lesson on how to dance.”

The instructor cracked a smirk. “You are a spunky girl. I like that.”

At one point, Mussa…that’s the instructor’s name…came over to Sean and me again. “Are you on your left foot too?” He asked me. I nodded. His eyes lowered at me and I scowled back at him in return. With his right hand, he pushed my shoulder. I swayed a little, but just continued looking at him confused. “If you’re on your left foot, then why didn’t you take a step when I pushed you?”

12 years of ballet definitely has helped my balance throughout the years but I was pretty sure that would just give him another excuse to bash women. “Because,” I said not taking my eyes off of his, “You’re not the one leading me. He is.”

He clapped his hands together, throwing his head back laughing. “Ohh, my goodness! I think you’ve finally gotten it!” Then he looked at Sean. “You have your hands full with that one.”
And I swear to God, Sean had to restrain me from attacking the man.

Argentinean Tango

This is Mussa dancing with one of the other students. They all think he’s some sort of dreamboat. Perhaps he is, but he definitely makes me seasick.

Coffee Teacup

Coffee Teacup

This is my coffee teacup and coffee tea biscuits. Obviously, they’re both meant for tea…but I don’t drink a whole lot of tea.  However, it’s the perfect size for those early mornings when I need my morning java, but don’t have enough time to drink a whole mug’s worth. And with only drinking this amount in the mornings before leaving, I’m not about to explode with urine by the time I get to work. Ingenious, I know.

These “tea” cups can be found here at Alice’s Tea Cup.

Cactus Jack

Cactus Jack

I’m not so good at keeping plants alive. This summer I had a tomato plant, sweet peas, basil, cilantro, snap dragons, and various other plants in my “garden.” Not a single one of those lived to see August. I don’t know what’s wrong with me–the green thumb obviously skipped my generation. My dad was a farmer when he was a kid. A FARMER. That means it was his JOB to grow things successfully and his livelihood depended on it. Luckily, mine does not.

So when I saw this cactus at Home Depot, I thought for sure that I could keep THAT alive. I mean…it’s a CACTUS. You only have to water it like, once a month. You can leave it in the sun and just forget about it! But, no. My cactus, of course, is dying as you can see above. The little cacti on the side are brown and shriveled. It’s amazing Luna has lasted as long as she has.

Regal

Regal

This is one of those rare moments in my life where Luna is calm.

This dog is on what I like to call “doggie prozac” thanks to Sean’s good friend Megan who is a vet. She understands that “Luna” is short for “Lunatic” and without some form of medicated help, I would be forced to stick my head in the oven on a daily basis.

The drugs don’t change her completely, but her highs aren’t as high and her lows are just as mellow before; they just happen to be more frequent. The drugs take the edge off. And in the process, I don’t end up tearing handfuls of hair out of my scalp.

N’Orleans

NOrleans

Right after I graduated from college, my mom and I took a trip to New Orleans together to a writer’s conference down there. Sort of one last hurrah before I moved to New York.

Pictured here is one of the many street bands we came across while walking in the French Quarter. The reason my mom and stopped to listen to them as opposed to the dozens of other bands? We loved that the dog just sat there watching and listening too. I was also a fan of the tiger print bucket under the one man’s foot. We have weird priorities, I know.

This image kick-started a photographic series of people and their dogs around the globe.

Rest In Peace, Old Man

We in the Katana family are a little dog crazy, if you couldn’t already tell. Growing up, we always had at least two in the house. My sister has two large labs, I had a boxer in college (who now lives with my parents…she’s much happier there with the yard) and my brother had two boxers while I was in high school. Weejes and Mojo lived with all of us in my parent’s house, so while they were technically his dogs, we all shared the responsibilities of taking care of them.

Since Weejes death last December, Mojo’s health has been declining. He had been diagnosed with cancer and depression seemed to set in at the loss of his friend. Bo decided to get another puppy for everyone’s sake. Gidget entered the family sometime last spring…she is a pug and if you can imagine it, she’s even crazier than Luna.

The new puppy seemed to raise Mojo’s spirits. He had a new buddy…albeit one that would chew on his neck, but a buddy nonetheless. The last time I visited Mojo, he seemed well. He had energy, he was jumping around, wiggling his butt and tail, licking my face…and I’m lucky that that is how I get to remember him.

I think you can see where this is going–Mojo died earlier this week. He wasn’t necessarily young, but he wasn’t old either…about 9 or 10. For boxers, this is the typical lifespan. I want to think he went peacefully, in his sleep, but there really is no way of knowing. It happened while no one was home. My heart breaks for Bo and Christina and the kids…but it is also somewhat a relief. I think we all know that cancer is no easy disease. It’s painful. And there is no morphine to give your dogs to ease that pain. So I am relieved that we no longer have to watch as he winces, finding a comfortable spot to lie down. I’m relieved that we don’t have to see the pain in his eyes as he pants, exhausted from his morning walk

But I will miss you, old man. I’ll miss that sloppy tongue sliding across my cheek. I’ll miss your short stubbly fur that always got on all my clothes. I’ll miss your asthma–that wheezing noise you made after chasing after me in the yard. I’ll miss how I used to slip you pieces of my steak under the table and how Bo and I would bring home entire Big Mac’s from McDonald’s just for you. I’ll miss cuddling on the couch with you and how I used to sneak you upstairs to sleep in my room with me. Then I would set my alarm an hour earlier just to bring you back downstairs before everyone else woke up.

I’m not a very good Catholic in the sense that I A) Believe that animals have souls and B) Believe that those souls will be reincarnated. I believe that Mojo and Weejes will both come back to us in some other form. I believe we will have our puppies back again someday.

A dear friend of mine and a fellow dog lover sent me this poem long ago when Weejes died. He and I share a love of poetry and literature. And I believe Kipling says it better than I ever could:

Rest In Peace, Old Man

The Power Of The Dog

By Rudyard Kipling

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie–
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find–it’s your own affair–
But…you’ve given your heart for a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!);
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone–wherever it goes–for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart for the dog to tear.

We’ve sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we’ve kept ‘em, the more do we grieve:
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long–
So why in Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?


Favorite Monkey

Favorite Monkey

Luna is not the smartest dog in the world. Anyone who’s read anything on this site probably knows that. She is stubborn and hard to train and the veterinarian has told me on more than one occasion that she more than likely suffered some sort of brain damage during Katrina.

Of all the things I’ve tried to teach Luna…of all the words I have tried to engrave into her brain (sit, stay, no!) very few have stuck. But the one word she will always respond to? Monkey. She understands that “Monkey” means her toy. And if you say to her, “Luna! Where’s your monkey?” She’ll run around the apartment until she finds the exact toy she’s looking for. This little guy she’s laying with here is her current favorite monkey. He’s already had surgery twice after a particularly messy tug of war session.

Now if we could only make her understand the words: STOP LICKING YOUR ASS.

Serena Blend

Serena Blend

Sean’s mother works at Starbucks. And while I usually support the independently owned coffee shops over the franchises, I will give Starbucks props for certain things. For example, they treat their employees incredibly. And their specialty drinks are quite delicious…though a diabetic’s nightmare. Or dream depending on how you look at it.

We also get free bags of coffee with every visit from his mother. This was my favorite blend–Serena’s organic coffee. Unfortunately, Sean hates it. And that means if I brew this blend, then I have to drink the entire pot or throw a lot of it out.  So as a result I have to now find a second favorite coffee to receive from the boyfriend’s! mother. Any suggestions?

A Style Icon.

A Style Icon.

Jacques Helleu was Chanel’s artistic director for over 40 years. He died at age 69 in October of 2007 after a long illness.  As the driving force behind Chanel’s iconic ad campaigns, Helleu established Chanel as a key brand name in the market by featuring celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Nicole Kidman, Kate Moss and Catherine Deneuve.

This beautiful (and heavy) book, Jacques Helleu & Chanel, was a housewarming gift given to me by my friend and fashion buddy, Jeff. It is filled with stories about Helleu, sketches, and ads and photoshoots throughout the years of Helleu’s reign as artistic director.

I Forgot to Look For the Pot Of Gold

I Forgot to Look For the Pot Of Gold

This photograph was taken outside our window at the Shalom Bed & Breakfast in Carlingford, Ireland. The rainbow is 100% real and this photo hasn’t been enhanced in Photoshop at all. Sean and I rushed out with our cameras around our necks and literally had two minutes to photograph before the beauty faded and disappeared all together.

I don’t know that I have ever seen such a beautiful rainbow that arched in a perfect 180 degrees. Nor do I know if I’ll ever see one again.