On the Okey Dokey Trail: A Smart-Aleck Perspective On the Give and Take of Life.
On the Okey Dokey Trail is a collection of humorous stories about relationships, work, parenthood, plastic surgery, bad car karma, photography, weed, golf lessons, serendipity, popular culture and its connection to tarot cards plus so much more.
This book WILL NOT help you find or keep a love relationship, grow the perfect rose or child, make dinner, surmount life’s inexplicable tragedies, fix a car or parking ticket, reinvent yourself, have a career in Hollywood or extract the cream filling from a cupcake without it crumbling.
This book WILL make you laugh and offer a perspective on all the above and whatever life serves up.
We are so sure of our ability to entertain you that in this one-time limited offer we will guarantee 1-3 LOL’s or your money back, no questions asked. Well, we may question if you have ever had a sense of humor, but it will be largely rhetorical. We would never post your name anywhere, pinky-swear.
I've worked with writers (TV) throughout my career. It looked like so much fun that I thought I'd give it a try.
So far all of my early reviews (Amazon) have been 5 star, and some are even from people I do not know.
Believe in Fate? Happy endings?
Happy 1st Anniversary to my VT couple.
On The Okey Dokey Trail: A Smart-Aleck Perspective on the Give and Take of Life
LIFE IN 1/80TH OF A SECOND
Ah, photography: my love. Picture taking has led to many magical moments, some lasting only a fraction of a second and some with much longer exposures.
My high school boyfriend introduced me to photography. Imagine my surprise, when in my first college photo class, I realized that making outwas not a requirement for developing film or printing pictures. At any rate, the hobby proved to be lifelong, the boyfriend was not.
Flash forward thirty-five years to a photo workshop in LA taught by a world-class professional photographer with many talented photographers attending … and me. At its conclusion, I decided to take the advice given by the instructor, “Take your work more seriously, don’t be lazy, use a tripod, and slow down.” While I was unsure about taking myself seriously, I did make a commitment to up my technical skills and to begin to use my bazillion dollars worth of digital camera gear, which I had neglected in favor of my iPhone camera. As soon as my little one was back in school, I would go on a trip to advance this mission.
I decided that I would Thoreau myself into nature for inspiration. Hiking in the woods with forty pounds of camera equipment just made sense to me. New England during fall foliage season was now on my radar. As luck would have it, friends offered their lovely ski condo in Dover, VT. This is where I dropped the pin on Google maps.
I had originally planned to take this trip solo since pulling over to the side of the road every five minutes to snap a picture or setting up a tripod under a waterfall in the middle of Bambi-land was not everyone’s idea of a good time. None of my friends or family seemed terribly in favor of this even though I reminded them of my three or four badges earned while in the Girl Scouts. Two of my very best friends who knew how bad I actually looked in green and how undistinguished my time in Girl Scouts really was, offered to join me.
The Maple Syrup State did not disappoint. I did however need time to acclimate. There were so few cars, and such friendly people. Seeing someone wave from a car was not the hand gesture I had come to know while driving in LA. Every encounter with the locals in shops, taverns, artist studios, diners, or on hiking trails, was delightful. I also noticed that camera people seemed to easily find other camera people. I wonder how they know?
On one such occurrence we stopped, at the very end of a long day, to take one last shot of a beautiful marble quarry we had spied on our way to have dinner. It had great reflections in the pond that lived in front of it. I had to move quickly. I was losing the light and feared my friends would drive off without me. Out of nowhere a guy with a fancy camera emerged. I quickly learned his gear preferences, that he was from NYC, loved VT, and was on assignment for some magazine. Then he asked, who I was shooting for. I guess I must have looked the part: “The Sanity Times.” It took him a moment, but he did laugh. I wasn’t trying to be rude, but I was now conscious of my best friend standing beside me looking like she was about to hit me. He gave me his card and I quickly took a few shots.
The following day, while on the road to nowhere in particular, I remembered a not so great photo experience that I haven’t recounted in many, many years. I was about nineteen when a relative asked me to photograph an important family event, a Bat Mitzvah. I had previously taken some informal family pictures for them, all of which turned out well. While I had done a lot of photography assignments, some professionally, this was to be the first event that I had been asked to shoot. Everything was going well until a very dear person to me, who was dying of cancer, showed up with her son. Even though I had recently seen her, her health status shocked and upset me. I had a drink, or maybe two.
Here’s a good rule of thumb for a working photographer: don’t drink at the event you are covering. My pictures (outdoor) got progressively fuzzier. The dinner was an indoor event requiring flash. No problem, I had a very professional unit. Only one problem, it did not properly sync to my camera that night. This was (and is) a very big problem. Imagine my surprise and horror when I picked up the dozen rolls of film I had shot and saw nothing, absolutely nothing. It was a very low moment. I vowed to never again, no matter what, ever photograph a once in a lifetime event. Theoretically this could have precluded weddings, but I threw that into the promise pile as well. Some people have recurring school/test nightmares; this was mine, or one of them.
Ok, that was then; this is now. We were having a good time ambling about the back roads of VT. We had planned to go to Woodstock, but at the rate we were traveling, we would more likely be eating breakfast there than a late dinner. We decided to travel instead to the little town of Weston.
We cranked the radio up and eventually rolled into Weston, a charming and picturesque place, driving about a half a mile past the main drag just to get the lay of the land. My friend pulled over so I could walk back into the town center and meet her there.
I was moseying down the street minding my own business when a car pulled up beside me. With two cameras dangling from my neck and a tripod over my shoulder, they couldn’t possibly think I was the best person to ask for directions.
The couple inside did not look like they were lost or out for a nice afternoon drive. She was in a formal gown and was holding a beautiful fall bouquet, and he was wearing his Sunday best. ”We’re getting married in the town square, can you be our photographer?” I stood frozen in silence and complete amazement. They must have thought they had stopped a non-English speaking person instead of just a barely able to speak English person. After what seemed like an eternity, these words effortlessly tumbled out, “Um, maybe, um, don’t know, sure, maybe.” She still had a smile on her face, but he looked as if he made a big mistake when he stopped me. I recovered, “I’ll meet you in town, I want to walk.” They politely agreed and drove off.
As I continued my walk, my pinball brain went into high gear. “What? What is the universe trying to tell me? Was this some new reality show, Karmic Camera? Just because they wanted to take their vows didn’t mean I had to break mine. Where was that professional photographer from NYC that I met yesterday? Where was a busload of Japanese tourists when you need them? Maybe I could talk them out of the whole marriage thing; did they know all the divorce statistics? Then I thought, just walk, and shut the hell up.
As I came into town center, I saw them inside a gazebo with some official looking guy in a suit holding a big black book. They were slowly walking away. Jeez, that was fast; they must have cut right to the I do’s. I started to run. The cameras were banging into me as if to remind me of my I don’ts. I began to shout, “Wait, wait, hold on …” I felt a little like Dustin Hoffman. It was quite the scene as people turned to see what all the commotion was about. This was very uncharacteristic of me; not that I don’t create commotion from time to time, but generally it’s not loud.
“Hi, I’m happy to do this for you,” I said. The groom extended his hand and introduced himself—Ok, while I’m breaking vows; I’m going to violate the privacy one. The bride said, “My name is Alexandra, but everyone calls me Alex,” which just happens to be my daughter’s given and nickname. I got very choked up. The groom was giving me that quizzical look again. I immediately began fumbling for my iPhone to show the bride pictures of my Alex while rambling, “I don’t know what it is about weddings, they always seem to make me teary-eyed, does this happen to you?” Her makeup looked just fine.
Then, to work I went. I began carefully composing shots and checking and rechecking my settings. My photo teacher appeared in my mind’s eye: “Slow down, don’t be lazy, use a tripod if needed.” The light was beautiful. Although I wanted to move them to a more scenic location away from people and cars, this was the spot where they married. They had been together for six years and had traveled to VT on a few days holiday, when they decided that this was the perfect time for them to be married. The rings, the dress, the suit were all purchased the day before. With each shot I became more and more relaxed.
The best shot was found in between shots. I had posed them for a few pictures and was just looking in my viewfinder for the next group of shots, when I saw her looking up at him as he pulled her closer. It was such a loving and intimate moment, and it was preserved for all time in 1/80th of a second.
I took a few more pictures and then wrote down his email address. The groom then told us that they were to soon be shipped out. He kept saying, “I wish there was something I could do for you,” to which I responded, “You have no idea …” We said our good-byes. I shook his hand and hugged her tight silently wishing them a good life together.
Then I sat down on a park bench with my best friend by my side and ate fudge. She had bought four different kinds. You almost had to be alone to eat the peanut butter and chocolate.
It was a magical moment among several within a great week. I went home and quickly sent out the photos to the email address hoping I got that right. Two days later this was in my inbox:
I cannot thank you enough for all your help and photo taking.
You did such an amazing job.
One of the photos that you took we printed and framed for our mothers. This was our way of surprising them with the news of our wedding success.
Thank you so much for all your help, your grace, and your care to help a couple of people get married.
May the universe guide you unto your next photo opportunity.