Smile For The Camera!

I absolutely LOVE taking pictures. Photographs of people, where ever I am at the moment, my dog, whatever. It doesn’t matter. I have tons of photo albums in my bookcase – years’ worth of memories, all bound into multi-colored books. I’m probably one of the only people left in the world who still prints out pictures and puts them in albums.

Before every cell phone had a camera, I used to take mine with me everywhere. Since I’m naturally blonde, I’d take photos to help me remember certain occasions.

Company trip or Girls Night Out? Whether they liked it or not, I was there taking photos. Many times this really came in handy if alcohol had been involved. Who was the guy Jill was dancing with? What happened to Nicki’s shoes? Why is Carl wearing a cape? Hmmmm. Well, let me just reference my handy-dandy digital photos.

Company having a party? Check. I was there, camera in hand, ready to document. (One of my coworkers nicknamed me the company “Documentarian.” I thought it she was kidding until I Googled it and realized that it’s a real word – someone who documents things.) Okay. That was me.

This came in handy each year when the company would take all of the employees to Florida. As usual, I packed my camera. And the crazy and fantastic group of people that I worked with always provided me with opportunities for great pictures.

I have to include a bad one of myself.  It's only fair.

I have to include a bad one of myself. It’s only fair.

It’s funny how people act like they don’t like getting their picture taken, but as soon as I would take a photo, people would want to see it.

“Oh, that’s terrible of me! Take another one!!!”

Now, that always made me laugh. If you didn’t like me taking a picture in the first place, then why do you want me to take another one?

It’s because PEOPLE LIKE PICTURES. They’re memories you can see.

V on a stuffed horse.

V on a stuffed horse.

My friend, E.Y.* says I have a knack for getting people to do things that they normally wouldn’t do, and then I take a picture of it.

“Hey E! Go stand by that fountain and it will look like you’re peeing!”

“Okay!!!”

Click-click-click.

“Hey E! Wrap yourself up in this beach towel and you’ll look like a baby!”

“Okay!!!”

Click-click-click.

Flying back from the Fla trip, the airline said babies could board first, so here E is acting like a baby.

Flying back from the Fla trip, the airline said babies could board first, so here E is acting like a baby.

What’s REALLY funny is that E doesn’t drink so these pictures were taken when he was perfectly sober.

E said that I’m the friend that will take really crappy pictures of you all year long and then give them to you on a CD as a Christmas present.

Yep. That’s how I roll. And now that I have a camera on my phone, those great pictures for next year’s Christmas CD are just a quick click away.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

*E’s name and people’s faces have been hidden to protect my life for including these stories in this blog post.

Bra size?  C - for cakes.

Bra size? C – for cakes.

It's a bird...it's a plane!  It's a man on a piano!

It’s a bird…it’s a plane! It’s a man on a piano!

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I Met My Husband Online And You Can Too

Many of you have followed up with that post by asking me about online dating.  Well, here’s my advice and two-cents, which really isn’t much.  After all, it’s only two cents worth so don’t sue me.

If you have read my previous posts, you will know that I was a long time resident of Loserville.  A ten year resident, to be exact and after a friend convinced me to try Match.com where I met the love of my life, I packed up my things and moved out of town for good.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t think that I am calling anyone else a Loser for not being married or in a relationship.  I call myself that simply because I was so ready to meet someone that I easily would have settled for Mr. Close-But-Not-Exactly-Mr-Right, or at some points, even just a human, breathing male.  But I got lucky this time.  Or it was divine intervention.  Either way…

Trust me.  If there’s FourSquare in Loserville, I’m pretty sure I’m still the Mayor.

  1. Use your brain.  When deciding to find a date on line, safety is first and foremost.  There are a lot of wackos out there but on the flip side, there are a lot of good people that are serious about wanting to meet someone.  Use your common sense at all times.  Most on-line sites won’t allow you to post contact information.  You must go through their site to contact a person.  Don’t give out ANY personal information until you are sure you are ready to talk in person.
  2. “How YOU doin?”– Introduce yourself . For me, I sent Dale a “wink”, which is Match.com’s way of saying “Hey you’re a cutie and I am interested.”  So yes, since I sent Dale a wink first, I take full credit  for this relationship.  If they are interested, they will respond.

    Dale’s Match.com profile picture

  3. Cyber stalk him.  After we e-mailed each other back and forth I had enough information to Google him and had already checked out his Facebook page and his LinkedIn profile within the first few days.  I saw pictures of his parents before I even knew their names.  I found his ex-wife’s Facebook and Twitter pages.   I found articles on awards that he had received on software he had written.  My point is, do some simple research.  Thank God Al Gore invented the internet so that we could do cyber-research on someone without them even knowing!! You might want to run a background check on them or even find their divorce information on line – it’s all public information.  Now I didn’t do those things, but I’m pretty sure my Dad did.
  4. Talk to each other.  We talked on the phone like silly teenagers – up until 2-3am talking about the most random stuff.  You can learn a lot about someone just over the phone.  Use your intuition – if something seems off then it just might be.  (I didn’t give him my home number – just my cell number.  I knew my home number could be traced to my home address, and I wasn’t ready to let anyone know where I lived.
  5. Don’t be a victim….meet in public.  We decided to meet at a very public park, where it would be more difficult to kidnap me and make a skin suit out of me if that was his intention.  Let someone know where you are going and give them a link to the page of the person you are meeting.  Sounds a bit overcautious but just think about the skin suit and you won’t feel like you’re overreacting.
  6. Go the 20 questions route – talk about everything.   We talked about everything from politics, religion, kids, reasons why we were divorced, reasons why we turned to on-line dating, what our parents do, etc.
  7. Meet his friends and let him meet yours.  If he doesn’t have friends or “isn’t ready” for you to meet his friends within a few weeks of dating then watch out for that red flag…it’s going to be waving at you.  Dale met six of my closest friends on our SECOND DATE.  I was scheduled to do a triathlon with three of my girlfriends and we all met up for dinner to fill up on carbs.  Poor Dale – he was answering questions right and left, but got the thumbs up from my girlfriends before dessert was even served.  Trust me, you may be blind to any red flags, but your friends will openly tell you if your potential date is a raging psychopath.

    2nd date – meeting my friends

  8. Talk about everything.  Dale and I were really comfortable talking on the phone so when we met, the conversation transitioned very easily from introductions to life stories.  Within the first hour of meeting in person, I knew about a near fatal car wreck he had when he was 17.  There are going to be times when you can’t stay up until 2am on the phone.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a long conversation or text messages, or emails, just get to know each other every single day.
  9. Meet each other’s kids, and let the kids meet each other.  We were lucky that our kids were 15, 10 and 8 when they first met.  The oldest worked at an ice-cream shop at the time so it was a perfect place to bring the younger kids.  Make the kids comfortable when they are meeting potential step-siblings.  Things are changing for them so you need to pay extra attention to their thoughts and feelings.
  10. Meet each other’s families – who better to give you input than your families?  My father is retired military, and a judge….and my maiden name was Gunn…so he’s Judge Gunn.  He is extremely conservative, so when I told him that I met the man of my dreams and we were getting married after only knowing each other for four weeks, my parents were more than a bit skeptical…as were Dale’s parents.  We decided to get everyone together to meet.  After dinner, my father pulled me aside and said “Ok.  I get it.  He’s your perfect match.”  (Then I think he ordered a full background check on my new fiancé. LOL!)
  11. Be realistic.  You may meet the love of your life immediately or it may take a few tries.  Don’t try to make something work if it doesn’t feel right and don’t rush it if you aren’t ready.  Don’t settle!
  12. Finally, Have FUN!  Dating isn’t brain surgery.  It’s about meeting new people and seeing if there is a connection.  Look at it this way – even if there isn’t chemistry, you got out of the house and did something out of your comfort zone…and you may have gotten a free dinner out of the deal!  Score!

Happy Father’s Day, Mr. Fancy Pants

By Dana McIntyre  @danamcintyre1

Father’s Day is coming up and this year is more special to me than ever.  Six months ago we were not sure my Dad would even be around for Father’s Day.   He was diagnosed with a blood cancer and started chemo treatments immediately.   (He recently underwent a stem cell transplant, and I am blessed to say that it was successful!)

This year for Father’s Day I plan on doing something different for him.  I am going back through my old photos and finding the ones that make me laugh, the ones that make me remember and the ones that make me happy.  I want him to know how much those memories mean to me and how lucky I am to have the best dad in the world.

I want him to know that I remember seeing the thousands of jellyfish in the water on our beach trip to Panama City.  I remember camping in our 1970’s VolksWagon van and catching my first trout in the river up in the north Georgia mountains.  I remember going to the pool and being mesmerized by the tsunami that he created by doing a cannonball off the diving board.  I want him to know that I cherish every one of those memories!

And I plan on giving those memories back to him through StoryMark.

And as much as I love my dad, I will have to make fun of his short sleeved turtleneck shirt and plaid pants combo from 1974.  It’s classic.

 

 

Capture Generations of Stories Before They Are Gone

My 18 year old son Matthew is visiting my 93 year old grandmother this week in Mississippi.  Last night I called him to see how things were going.  He interrupted me mid-sentence and said “I have to call you back.  Banma is telling me old stories.”  (Yes, we call our grandmother Banma – it’s got to be a Southern thing to call your grandmother by some silly name, which clearly we do.)

Later he called me back and said “That was so awesome.  I just heard all kinds of stories about this house.  Did you know that my great, great, great grandfather died in here?”

The house was built in the mid 1800’s and generation after generation was born there, all the way down to my mother.  (The tradition stopped when I was born due to the invention of epidurals.)   There were weddings and even deaths in that house.

Banma told Matthew stories of how the house was framed on top of huge tree trunks that were brought up from the back woods.  He heard about my great, great grandfather who literally died of a broken heart upon hearing that his wife had just passed away.  He learned that my grandmother gave birth to my mother in the front bedroom on a cold Christmas morning.

These stories, like many other generations of stories could one day be lost.  This is one of the main reasons why StoryMark was created…to capture those memories and stories before they are gone.

Sit down with your grandmother or grandfather and have them StoryMark their old photos.  Use the camera on your iPhone to capture the images, and let the story telling begin.

You may also find out interesting tidbits like we did. For example, following the birth of my mother, my grandmother got up and cooked Christmas dinner.  Boy times have changed.

Twitter @danamcintyre1

For more information, please visit www.storymarklife.com or download for free in the iPhone app store or Android Marketplace.