Life, Photography, The Family Circle

Children are a Gift


oh sweet child of mine

how I wish I could freeze time

children are a gift

Life, Photography, The Family Circle

Maizy the Survivor: Beating Cancer One Dream at a Time

The mother of my child and love of my life has eluded death at least three times. Twice she survived breast cancer. She once fainted in a movie theater lobby from a pulmonary embolism, due to complications with a stent in her arm relating to the cancer.
The disease took her ovaries and her breasts. Cancer made her voluntarily poison herself with chemotherapy.

She even survived a roll over crash on the highway before cancer was even a part of the equation. It decimates everything. The body. The spirit. The bank account.

Despite all that, she still smiles and cares for others more than she does herself. She encourages us and provides the roof over our head and the food on our table. She is kind, loving, responsible and strong. She makes our world go ’round. Together we see these close calls and consider them a sign. The sign says: “Live you’re life and don’t hold back.”

We had a child together after many conversations of what our future as a couple dealing with the repercussions of breast cancer would be like. We had Penny and then Maizy decided to let them take her ovaries to avoid the very real possibility of cancer developing there. Then she decided to let them take her last remaining breast. Total mastectomy. I still think she’s the sexiest woman on the planet. Survivors are hot. She sacrificed her body to have a chance to live a longer life.

Maizy is amazing. For almost dying several times, the life in her bursts out and infects me. She gave me an amazing daughter and encourages me to follow my dreams. I’m glad she’s in my life and I’m grateful to her for fighting to live as hard as she does and choosing to spend that life with a bum like me. I’m The luckiest guy in the world.

What would you do if you almost died? Wouldn’t you want to live your life to the fullest and not regret an existence of apathy? Experience things you never have? Go places you’ve never been? Enjoy YOUR life. Don’t wait for a life threatening disease to give you a wake up call. Do everything. Find what you love to do and follow your dreams. That’s what I’m going to do anyway. You can do whatever you want. It’s your life.

We want to travel. There are many reasons, but a big one for me is getting Penny out there to see the world. Cancer runs in the family. Maizy’s mom had it, and there is a decent chance Penny could have the BRCA gene. BRCA1 and BRCA2 are harmful genes inherited from the mother or father.

A child of a parent with the gene has a 50 percent chance of inheriting the mutation. I hope it isn’t true but I’m ready to deal with it if it is. I want to try to instill that appreciation for life in Penny, not that she doesn’t already have it. The girl is a firecracker.

Extremely emotional just like her dad. Intelligent and strong like her mom. A 50/50 chance that she could have to deal with ovarian or breast cancer? That’s tough to deal with. We are going to teach her to live life. What better way to do that than by example?

The fact is: any of us can die anytime. That’s news to nobody. We already know this. So why do we spend so much of our time doing things we don’t enjoy? I’m not talking about doing the dishes or the laundry. I’m talking about careers and life choices and doing things we wouldn’t normally do. Taking chances, trying new things, searching for fulfillment.

We live in a world where a majority of people think it’s crazy to follow your dreams. We think those people are crazy. Maizy and I have served our time on the hamster wheel and we are jumping off.


j_nix_streetwork (1 of 1)-73

flipped a double bird
communicating contempt
obscene hand gesture


Flipping a Double Bird


M is for Maizy



The Daily Prompt: Take a Chance on Me

What’s the biggest chance you ever took? Did it work out? Do tell!

I was sitting in my cubicle on an unspectacular day preparing to write an email to a co-worker. Her name started with the letter M, so I typed M into the search bar on my e-mail interface and the first name that popped up was Maizy Faithfull. I hadn’t thought of that name in a couple of years. I remembered she was kind and that I broke things off with her after a very short time.

I was in the middle of a “conscious uncoupling” with my girlfriend at the time. The level of insanity that my previous relationship reached was epic in its proportions, and I wasn’t sure the timing was right to dive into another relationship right away. I needed to be unattached, and for two years that is exactly what I did. I detached myself from reality.

Each morning getting up and riding the bus to work, suffering through the 8 hour day until the next time I could plop down on my couch, click on the giant TV and immerse myself in a virtual world of cynicism and death. I guess I was making up for all the times I couldn’t afford the newest and latest thing. I was more interested in advancing my Gamerscore on Xbox live then I was on advancing in my career. I was lonely, guilty, slovenly, drunk all the time, sick all the time, the hangovers were lasting for days instead of hours. I thought I was happy but looking back I realize now that I was the most miserable I had ever been.

I thought to myself that I should go ahead and write her a little note. We seemed to hit it off when we dated briefly a couple of years earlier. I was intrigued by the possibility of re-connecting with her. So I typed up a quick note, and I took the chance and hit send. I thought she might get really offended or just ignore me. I figured if that was the worst thing that could happen by sending that email, then I was willing to take the chance that she might like me enough to give me another chance.

I had my own place, a stable government job, and I was single. I was single just long enough to come to the realization that I might be single for the rest of my life. I didn’t see myself as dating material. I was caught up in that tangled web of low self-esteem, constantly preoccupied with what I imagined that everyone else must think of me. I didn’t have the courage to actively pursue a woman in public, and to be honest, I was wary of getting seriously involved with any other woman for the rest of my life.

In the two years prior to Maizy coming back into my life, I had two blind dates, and two really weird and awkward one-night stands, none of which were related. I remember both blind dates were awful. I just wasn’t ready. It wasn’t their fault. I just would get out on the dates and they would start asking me all the questions. What do you do? Why don’t you have your license? Why don’t you look at me when you talk?

I was just too socially awkward. Who in their right mind would want to sign on for that? Who would willingly date a cross-eyed guy with no car and a customer service job in a phone center? I don’t have the good looks to make up for those deficiencies. I went into those dates already defeated and that’s why they didn’t work out.

It takes a very understanding person to date someone with a physical deformity. That is a huge initial obstacle to overcome. Casual dating doesn’t work for me. It has to be a happy accident. I don’t have any official numbers to back this up, but I’m willing to bet that there are more people who would rather choose a mate with two straight eyes then one that was cross-eyed. So I live with this self-imposed stigma that being cross-eyed somehow makes me less of a human and therefore undeserving of true love.

Meeting Maizy for the second time really turned my life around. After several weeks of sending emails and chatting over the phone she invited me to her loft for dinner. I remember riding the train across town during rush hour, enjoying the warm sun through the window, savoring the last brief moment of relaxation before I would finally come to face to face with the girl I had been talking to for days. I arrived at Union Station and couldn’t find her anywhere. I walked the terminal twice before giving up and heading back to the train feeling dejected.

Just as I was opening the door to leave, there she was. She looked wonderful, and held my gaze with her eyes. She gave me a hug and held my hand on the walk back to her place. She put me instantly at ease, and I didn’t get that feeling of judgment from her. She was just a beautiful, kind and caring gal that was just my age and mutually single.

Typing that M on the keyboard changed everything. We made a life together. She was a recent cancer survivor and she told me so that first night. She just got a dog the day before. He ate my glasses while I was there. I mean literally ate them, chewed the lenses in right in half. I didn’t even know that was possible.

That night was 6 years ago this July. Once we started dating we barely ever left each other’s side. Now we share a home and a family. Our daughter Penelope was born on April 16th, 2010. She just turned four years old. I left my job and stayed home to raise our daughter. I started college to pursue a degree in journalism.

Pushing the M that morning was the best thing I could have ever done to myself. It changed my entire outlook on life. I found a woman who encourages me to follow my dreams, who supports me and accepts me for who I am.  I don’t feel like less of a person when I’m around Maizy. I feel like I “have just as much of a right to be here as anyone else”, which is something that she patiently repeats to me every time I get worried about holding up traffic or taking up someone’s time.

Maybe e-mailing Maizy wasn’t the biggest chance I ever took, but it is the one decision I made in a time of really bone-headed decision making on my part that has brought me to this point. It’s the one choice that paid off and trumped all the other choices. In that 6 year time span I quit smoking, quit drinking, drastically altered my career path, and fathered a beautiful baby girl. I gained an inordinate amount of courage, confidence, and self-esteem at the urging of my strong, self-assured, beautiful, wonderful girlfriend. She reminded me it’s okay to follow your dreams when everybody else was telling me to “stay the course,” even though they knew I was miserable. It seems like everything I do since I’ve met Maizy has involved me stepping out of my comfort zone in order to achieve the next level of self-improvement that I aspire to. It’s hard to look at someone who beat cancer twice and tell them that you don’t have it in you to try a little harder.

Maizy inspires me with her strength and reminds to be compassionate. She isn’t content to just sit around and wait for life to pass her by. She wants to live and so do I. Meeting Maizy and falling in love with her made me want to be a better man. That is why I’m glad I went ahead and hit send on that e-mail. You never know what little thing will change your life completely.


Following Penny

down on her level
the world seems more wondrous
the twinkling sea


Following Penny


People’s chonies, panties, underwear, boxers, tighty-whiteys, banana hammocks, grape smugglers, skivvies, nut huts, butt huggers, and “da dunt da dunts” were all out in the open during Denver’s Third Annual Cupid’s Undie Run.
They bare all for the cause of raising money for research to combat Neurofibromatosis, a painful and debilitating genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body. These tumors can create learning disabilities, blindness, deafness, and chronic pain. There is no known cure.
NF affects roughly 1:3,000 births in the U.S. and is in desperate need of new discovery, which is why 100% of funds raised through Cupid’s Undie Run go directly to the Children’s Tumor Foundation.


Fighting Diseases in Your Unmentionables


Photo Bombing Love

love and confusion
dining in the window seat
photo bombing love


Photo Bombing Love