One day with firefighters {part 2}

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THE PRESSURES OF WITNESSING TRAUMATIC SITUATIONS, staying calm in the midst of panic and chaos along with the terrible working hours is very hard on a firefighter. Not only does the 24-hour shift destroy your bio-rhythm, working with medical cases or fire emergencies is dangerous on top of that.

Cancer is most common among firefighters, I was told. Even though provided with masks and other protection, fumes from fires still manage to get into the system. And the psychological pressures of working with sick, injured or dying people can cause posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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SO HOW DO OUR FIREFIGHTERS COPE? Most firefighters I met have a strong family that supports them and gives them the backing they need to do their job for the community. (more…)

One day with firefighters {part 1}

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I’VE ALWAYS WONDERED WHAT A FIREFIGHTER’S DAILY ROUTINE might look like. How many fires he puts out, how he manages those long shifts, and what kind of motivation and character might be hidden behind those full-body suits and helmets.

As luck may have it, I was invited by our local fire chief to ride along for a day. And you know me – won’t miss out on that great an opportunity to peak into a life many boys dream of and even more girls swoon at.

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WITH CAMERA IN HAND AND A HIGH CURIOSITY LEVEL, I was standing at the Lacey Fire District 3′s front desk. Fire Chief Steve Brooks welcomed me with a warm handshake and immediately got into explaining the building’s inner set-up. I am still astounded at the cleanliness of the fire station. (more…)

Kyle, the world’s best hugger

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KYLE WAS INTRODUCED TO ME AS THE WORLD’S BEST HUGGER. And they were right! I met Kyle while shooting my favorite group of coffee makers at the Olympia Farmer’s Market. He has this sweet and shining smile that radiates at everyone.

Taken from the Faces of Oly series, exhibit June 12 to July 15, 2014 at Burial Grounds, downtown Olympia.

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Faces of Oly exhibit opens June 12

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FACES OF OLY portrays the stories of numerous individuals I have had the honor of meeting in Olympia over the last few months. Each photograph tells a story and depicts an exciting moment in my Olympia adventure.

Truly getting to know a city means getting to know the people that live and work there. People that exhale that city’s charisma and allure.

Portraying the city through these inspiring individuals is the heart of this project. And I am proud to be displaying the series at one of my favorite – and very Olympian – cafés, Burial Grounds.

In addition, I will also be launching a virtual exhibit for anyone not in Olympia who wants to check out the pieces and their individual stories. Stay tuned for more on that.

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Beating your own drum

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AS KIDS WE ARE TAUGHT TO FIT IN, conform to standards of society which are supposed to make life easier. As we grow up, move out of our parents’ reach and delve into the big wide world, we sometimes have moments of solitude. Moments in which there is no “must” or “should“, but just serene quiet and our own thoughts and opinions.

These are the moments I especially treasure because I listen to myself and let my own voice tell me where to go or what to do. Some call it listening to your own heart. I call it beating your own drum.

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Jami and her charming letterpress printing shop

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I MET JAMI WHILE SEARCHING FOR A PRINTER who specialized in unique papers and printing methods. I had gotten the tip from one of my favorite hot spots, the Olympia Coffee Roasting Co., where I was admiring their beautifully crafted coffee etiquettes.

Jami owns The Sherwood Press, a cozy old-school letterpress printing shop founded in 1940 by Jocelyn Dohm. After finishing her studies in Olympia, WA, Jami was keen on leaving the area for something bigger. By coincidence, Jami met Jocelyn and started helping out at the letterpress shop, discovering something very much worth staying in Olympia for. Jami took over the one-woman business in 2003 when Jocelyn passed away.

theSherwoodPress_01 (more…)

Bike season kick-off on a [hilly] 21 mile ride

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NOW THAT SUMMER IS HERE, going on longer bike rides will be part of my regular schedule. Yesterday was my first real ride with my new bike Fitz (short for Fitzgerald).

It started out as a casual I’m heading up to Woodard Bay-ride but quickly turned into a longer affair. I rode out at 8 am, trying to get ahead of the forecasted sweltering 88 degrees Fahrenheit. The scenery started out as lush vegetation and ponds, turning into farmlands and horse ranches. I even sighted a young deer crossing the street.

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I HEADED UP TO BOSTON HARBOR in search of a scenic view and a nice cup of coffee. I was rewarded at the Boston Harbor Marina with a great Batdorf & Bronson drip and a view of the Olympic Mountain Range. The marina was just waking from its sleep, with fishermen bustling about the docks. (more…)

Dear mom

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WE CELEBRATE OUR MOTHERS and show them our thanks for being the wonderful people they are on May 11th. But a date in the calendar shouldn’t suddenly spark this feeling of thankfulness and appreciation.

Everyday, we should remind ourselves to be thankful for the people in our lives, what they teach us through positive and challenging experiences and how they mold us into the people we evolve to be.

But since it is officially Mother’s Day and I should embrace this tradition, I want to give very special thanks to my own mother.

DEAR MOM, you have supported me from the beginning, laying the foundation of my beliefs and character. Thank you for letting me share your interests and journey all these years.

In times of fun and happiness you have laughed with me. Even in times of disaccord you have visited my thoughts and helped me become a better version of myself.

The greatest gift you give me though is the way you inspire me.

You are my teacher, my hero, my shaman, my girlfriend, my partner, my greatest critic, my greatest supporter.

THANK YOU for always believing in me, no matter how easy or hard I make it for you. Thank you for letting me accompany you on your own journey. Thank you for laughing at the same jokes as me, for sharing a hashtag (#personalcoffee), for remembering the good-ol-days, and for looking into the future with an optimistic, unconstrained outlook.

Happy Mother’s Day to you and every woman who accompanies her child on this challenging and beautiful journey we call LIFE.