Spring Forward, Fall is Back...

"How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days." - John Burroughs

Sunday, September 23rd marked the beginning of Fall, and that always brings about all of the Fall feelings. The one thought at the forefront in my mind is that I miss Evan. This isn’t a rare thing as I miss Evan every day, but maybe I'm anticipating the fact that this will be another birthday without him. This time of year has always been a favorite of mine. All the colors, the cooler mornings and warm afternoons, the anticipation of celebrations and just the vibe of Fall...but alas I'm overcome with melancholy. I know it will dissipate over time only to come back sometimes strong than when it left, but it lingers through January. The new year and winter time brings its own set of emotions and feelings with it.

I'm trying hard to be in a different state of mind as I approach this birthday. I'm battling the voices and memories inside my head that want to take me back and then yank me forward. I want to find a place that is restoring/filling me, but I also want to be mindful of remembering. When you are mentioned, you are present, and my desperate need for you to be in the present with me is the thing that I think is the most difficult for those who don't understand. I can't help but think that I'm celebrating yet another birthday and you are not here. That I will continue to celebrate birthdays and you won’t be here. That my future does not hold you and yet the past is filled with you. So the question is where do I want to be? And where should I be? The answer to these ponderings can't be answered by me at this time cause the space between the want and should is too vast.

The last few weeks I've kept busy with event photography and other thing photography related. I've been working, and in all the busyness I've been able to keep the memories that are inside my head at bay. That doesn't change that you won't be here to give me a hug or debate the latest political challenges. That makes me weepy...pretty much most of my memories make me weepy. I know it makes people uncomfortable. I know they want it to be ok. I know that they have the best intentions. I know that I'm loved and cared for in the best way. I just feel on some level that I've been cheated, robbed of moments in the future. I sometimes think that I worry about what people think. I’m learning that in all of this I am ok. That what I do and what I say can be judged, but in the end, I must walk out my grief in the way that fits me. I’m grateful for people who understand this truth. I’m especially thankful to my son Alex who walks along this path with me. Although we each are walking our own way, I realize that a portion of this journey we are walking in tandem with each other. Helping each other to take the next step and at times stopping to mourn our loss together. The vacancy of our loss is real to us as a family and the pain of that is raw and at times so very painful.

Woodland's Dinner on Main 2018

Sunday I had the pleasure of photographing the Woodland Dinner on Main. This event brings together the entire community from the downtown business district to ranchers and farmers. The many hands that come along are always such a blessing for me. I’ve done event planner for most of my career so to go to an event like this and to see the extent of teamwork and community spirit is just amazing. Watching chefs from several different restaurants work in harmony with one another is how this event can feed over 500+ guests, but that is the way they do it in Woodland. 

So many added details this year from the flower wall by the Sacramento Flower Collective to the Welcome to Woodland’s Dinner on Main threshold. There were gift bags from The Food Front with tables set with local vegetables and wines. I also notice a great selection of local beers.

This year a VIP event was held at the new Edible Learning Garden which hosted a lovely learning area, appetizers, wines and splashes of local music by youth in the community. Guests walked the garden and chatted with friends as music and laughter filled the early evening air. It was quite nice. 

After the VIP event, guests started towards Heritage Plaza for the evening presentations and the farm style meal. If you have not attended this event be sure to watch for it. It is the highlight of the year and this year was no exception. Well done to all who had a hand in making this event the success that it is. To all of the board member for Woodland’s Dinner on Main, thank you for allowing to capture this event. It is really is so much fun!! 

I especially what to thank Juan Barajas, his wife, Kristin and his brother, Toby from Savory Cafe for always being so welcoming and for representing Slow Food Yolo. You are the best!!

You can find further information at www.woodlandsdinneronmain.org

9 years later...Vacaville Christian High School, Class of 2018

Thursday was the graduation ceremony for the Vacaville Christian High school Class of 2018. I was invited to come by several of the families and I had hoped to take a few shots of the seniors that I had done their portraits. I walked onto the field and headed towards where the seniors were gathering with advisers and administrators in preparation of them walking towards the stadium. I wish I could say that my steps were light and sure…as they were not. I felt an overwhelming sense of disconnection. I felt at odds with my heart and head so after hanging out for a bit longer I left the ceremony with my head winning over my heart. I often have this happen to me. It’s a struggle to let the mind win cause typically the most important people you care about lose. I wish I can say that I’ve mastered “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” but alas I have not.  After countless texts to a friend who had their own struggle, I decided to return and do what I had set out to do. 

This time of year always bringing about feelings of melancholy and nostalgia it also holds great excitement, anticipation, and joy. Most times I have to do a great deal of talking myself through these things as they will continue to be a part of living and loving people. I want to so much to be included and sometimes I don’t always sense that connection. I feel at arm's length from it and maybe that is just the season I’m passing through. 

Congratulations to all of the Class of 2018!! Thank you for allowing me to photograph this chapter of your story. 

I’ve included a few photos from Evan’s graduation in 2009 at VCHS. He was the second graduating class from the new high school.

Tower Bridge Dinner 2017 with Savory Cafe

The last two weeks have been filled with event photography. As a person who has done events for most of my career it seems second nature to now be doing event photography. I've also really enjoyed the fact that both of the events I've done have been centered on community and food. I've always held the belief that food has a way of bringing people together. It really doesn't matter if it's for the sake of celebrating a new home, the birth of a child, the loss of a loved one or to celebrate harvest and the bounty that it brings food brings us together. This weekend celebrated the harvest that is at the heart of our region and I'm grateful to have been able to capture it for my friends at Savory Cafe. 

My connection to Savory Cafe and to the owners, Chefs Juan (the Food Whisperer) and Toby Barajas and Kristin Hansen, came through a connection with Slow Food Yolo. A dear friend, Joyce Hardi, introduced me to Slow Food Yolo several years ago when I did the event photography for the Village Feast in Central Park in downtown Davis. The Village Feast was a fundraiser for Slow Food Yolo along with a coming together of community, the Davis Farmers Market and Davis Farm to School. This set me on the course to do more of these type of events, where Good, Clean and Fair food was encouraged and celebrated. That was nearly 3 years ago and today that philosophy is still strong as Savory Cafe was given one of the Snail of Approval award for 2017 recently at the Taste of Yolo event in Davis.  

With all of that said I was invited to follow Juan and Kristin as they prepared one of the many appetizers that was offered by various restaurants at the Tower Bridge Dinner. The gala which features local restaurants and foods that are grown in the region is the exclamation point of a weekend of festivities and talent. This event is an important fundraiser for the Farm to Fork program's and what an honor it was to capture it for Chef Juan and Savory Cafe, who ascribe to the Slow Food attributes of being Good, Clean and Fair. I've included the links below to all of the folks that either helped with connections to people or to the food elements that were used to prepare this appetizer.

Juan and Kristin I enjoyed watching you work, connect and celebrate community and team work. What a blessing!! 

http://www.savorycafeonmain.com

http://manasranch.com

https://cvranches.com

https://zspecialtyfood.com

http://www.slowfoodyolo.com/

https://www.farmtofork.com/events/2017-tower-bridge-dinner/

Woodland's Dinner on Main 2017

On Sunday I had the greatest time at an event that celebrated food, agriculture and community. Woodland's Dinner on Main celebrated it's second year and it was filled with laughter, making new friends and tons of hard work. I got to follow along with my friends, Joyce Hardi, who is the director of Slow Food Yolo and the owners of Savory Cafe, Juan Barajas, along with his wife, Kristin and his brother Toby. Whenever I run into them they welcome me in as family and also show me how community and hard work are done well. 

This wonderful farm to fork community meal was nothing short of lovely. Locals and newcomers alike sat at tables placed end to end in the center of Main street. Large farm equipment were place at the end of 1st and 5th street as a symbol of the coming together of land and city. It was a beautiful evening with words of praise coming from the new chancellor of UC Davis, Gary. S May along with other community leaders. This was also the official launch of Food Front the official brand and marketing initiative for Woodland's food and agriculture industry. 

I had such a great time and thank you Slow Food Yolo and Savory Cafe for including me.