Please admire my new website. I made it myself, sort of. In my opinion, it @#%$%@#!@# rawks.

In the meantime, I’ll blog about NYC. Or at least the preamble.

“We’re going to New York in two days. I’d better get your passport out,” I told our son, Max. And then it occurred to me to ask my husband, Matt, that night, “Is your passport in order?” I’d gotten the kids’ together months ago.

“I think so.” He went upstairs to check and said, “Nope. Expired in September.”

I don’t generally check on Matt. We’re both adults, and he’s pretty self-sufficient. But this was a big oops.

I went to my book club, and they suggested we could get a Nexus card, but it turned out that’s a long process. And normally a passport takes a minimum of 24 hours, even if you pay the $110 fine. I only got a few hours of sleep, our house was a sty, but Matt did manage to get his passport the next day, while I got a peer review by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (not a legal case. They’re trying to audit all doctors in Ontario, but still nerve-wracking).

Our kids were surprisingly good during the 8 hour drive to New Jersey, even though Anastasia started spiking a fever by the time we hit the hotel pool that night.

In morning, I wouldn’t duck my head in the pool, because the chlorine reddened my eyes, and I was about to go for my Jordan Matter (Dancers Among Us photographer) photo shoot. It would also kill my hair, turning it into straw. Why waste $1000?

On the other hand, how often do I have an entire, mildly warm pool to myself?

I decided to put my head under anyway. Because this is my Year of Yes. I’m not one of those women who spent their whole lives not smiling, for fear of wrinkles. If I’ve got pool, I’m going to swim in it. Photo shoot be damned.

By the time I got dressed, neither of the kids ended up having a shower, because we were running out of time, and I felt bad that my kids were going to a photo shoot with dirty faces and dirty bums, as well as empty tummies, since it turned out that our hotel stay didn’t include breakfast, but we grabbed a few breakfast things in NYC.

Jordan Matter’s studio was nice but not overly fancy: wood floors, a couch with one purple, flouncy pillow that matched Anastasia’s dress. The teeny kitchen was more like a closet, but since one wall was a window and the fourth wall was open, it didn’t feel oppressive. The closet held potential changes of clothes. Obviously, it was a nice apartment that had been made over as an office.


Jordan’s assistant, Brendan, seemed to spend his time on the computer, working on head shots.The makeup artist arrived around 9:45. Brendan suggested the kids go to the park, which was a good idea, since Anastasia had started jumping off the step down from the landing to the living room. Matt told me afterward that Anastasia went on the swings, climbed, and went down the slide, once at normal speed and once too fast (“Mommy, I hurt my bum,” was the way that she greeted me when they came back). Meanwhile, Max played “Jingle Bells” the park glockenspiel-like thing. One of the moms listened, rapt, and said, “That was very good!” Then Max tried to play his favourite song, “Ode to Joy,” but ran out of notes.


Meanwhile, I made conversation with the makeup artist, Val. It seemed like she was a self-taught makeup artist, who’d started playing with makeup as a child, when her mother worked in a beauty shop. Then she kind of fell into working as an actress for a bit. I thought it was interesting that you could just fall into the entertainment business when you’re born in NYC, and that she’d prefer the creativity of makeup to standing in front of the camera.

It occurred to me that makeup art is an art that pays better than other visual arts, because people like looking at themselves more than they like looking at art. It’s like the guy who decided to make money on making covers instead of making paintings.

I thought the eyebrows she drew on me were too dark. Honestly, I was a bit freaked out. She toned them down a bit, and she let slip that it was harder because I don’t wax my brows.


Jordan Matter, the photographer, showed up at some point. He seemed like a normal, easily likeable person: good eye contact, good conversationalist, at ease and putting you at ease. I knew he was tall, from his website, but he didn’t present himself as imposing. He mentioned that he’d lived in PEI while his wife was doing her veterinary training. He liked my red dress and said the the fact that I didn’t bring a change of clothes, because I didn’t want to waste their time, was pretty typical of Canadians.

For the doctor shot, we used the kitchen white wall and light, to give a blank background. Right when he asked me to pose, I started to freeze up, so I asked Max to come out and make me smile.

I hadn’t realized that Valerie would stay with me the whole shoot, adjusting my makeup and hair, pinning my white coat to make it fit better, and holding light reflectors to brighten up the shot. While Brendan seemed to work on the computer and liase with clients, Valerie did makeup, hair, wardrobe suggestion and adjusment (“She has to take down the dress underneath. It’s making a lump”), and lighting assistance. So I’d thought $200 was a lot for makeup, but it was actually more than makeup. “Anything aesthetic,” Matt summed it up. Jordan more seemed to take the photos and say, “Yes! That’s it” or “Shade me”—more of a director sort of role.)

Then we went outside, and it was mildly amusing to take over the sidewalk, and have Val do my makeup, and both Val and Brendan adjusting the light reflectors, in New York City. I’m ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille.

We were extremely lucky. It was a beautiful day, sunny with a blue sky, and I didn’t even need my jacket, which unheard of in November in my neck of the woods.

Matt hung back, but eventually, he agreed to join in for a whole family photo shoot.

I’m not sure how any of it turned out. I still had very exaggerated eyebrows, for me. I took a selfie with my phone and ended up okaying a more toned-down version, because they seemed okay on film, but it was still odd.

Anastasia had developed a full-blown fever, which meant that she did consent to stand beside me, but wandered away as soon as she could, and she refused to take her jacket off at all. (“Put your hand on your daughter’s head…oh, she’s gone,” said Jordan.) Max was good—thank God Matt amused them both, showing them things on the wall and whatnot. By the end, A. looked like this:


I’ll present the professional photos in a later blog. Stay tuned.