Monday, July 27, 2015

Soul Sisters

Soul Sisters! Jillie and Lucy

Tuesday, 22nd of July, I was at a super wedding, full of joy and celebration. The President of Sri Lanka even came and I met him and talked to him! There was such excitement when President Maithripala Sirisena arrived. All the mobile phones came out – people even took selfies with him!

The wedding was gorgeous and I will write a blog just on that.

During all the dancing and music I made the mistake of looking at my iPhone and checking my Facebook where I learned of my dear friend Jillian’s passing. I've known her for 35+ years. I knew she had Stage 4 lung cancer but I had prayed that a miracle would happen and that she would survive. I couldn’t imagine a world without her. I didn’t want to imagine that.

I was gob smacked. It felt like my chest had been crushed and yet I was part of Team ShadeTree and had to act professional for the rest of the wedding. I couldn’t break down and sob.

I have so many memories of Jillie; from the early days when I met her at her salon when she waxed and shaped my eyebrows. We had an instant connection. Sisterhood. And later when she moved up northern California to Lakeport, away from the San Francisco Bay area, I learned to love Lakeport through her and tried and tried to figure out a way to follow her up there and be her neighbor.

She was so funny, had a great throaty laugh and could do anything. When I paid to have someone do some carpentry, or electrical, Jillie bought a handyman book and learned to do everything herself. Her house in Lakeport was darling. Decorated in art deco, she even did fabulous stenciling in all the rooms. Everything Jillie saw she made into something beautiful. She even learned the art of stained glass…but not anything normal…art deco and gorgeous. Jillie was my idol. Truly.

Years before, when I lived in San Rafael, she even worked with me to organize my sales business. We had such fun in that stupid little office and she was so much better organized than me. I went on to make the company bigger and better with her help.

The only time Jillie ever got mad at me was when I had planned to go up north and stay with her and her husband Dale for 3-4 days. But the night before I was to leave I took a shower and walked out of
the shower a non-smoker (for the 5th and final time). I watched my mother suffer with COPD and decided I couldn’t bear up to that fate. I didn’t know I was going to cancel my trip to Jillie until I had driven from Los Angeles to Ventura – a two-hour drive. I was crazed with the urge to smoke. Absolutely, absolutely crazed. So, I called Jillie and told her that I couldn’t visit because of her smoking. She smoked constantly. I couldn’t be around it or I’d start back again. Instead I turned the car around and headed back to Los Angeles, but at the freeway turnoff going east, I frantically headed south instead to La Jolla (a 3-4hour trip), to a spa down there. I spent 4 days detoxing from the nicotine in milk baths, saunas, steam baths, not talking on the phone and introducing myself as ‘Hi, I’m Lucy and I just quit smoking.’ People either thought I was crazy, or happy for me, or wishing they themselves could quit smoking.

I drove up the coast to Santa Barbara and walked the city streets, telling everyone, ‘Hi, I’m Lucy and I just quit smoking.’ Even at Hearst Castle I greeted people the same way. I made my way to Carmel and stayed in the quest house where I spent my honeymoon. The owner was so happy that I had quit smoking she gave me a huge discount on the room.

When I headed back home two weeks later, I still wasn’t ‘cured’ enough to be around smokers. And sadly that included my dearest friend Jillie. I never made it up there, but recently Jillie and I recently spoke about me moving from Sri Lanka to Lakeport and renting her little house. We chatted about it for a long time and decided that with my measly little Social Security and even with her cheap rent, that I probably wouldn’t make ends meet. It has been my dream for decades to move up there and be able to row on the lake, have coffee with Jillie, talk about our gardens, me grow veggies galore. She was always in my plans for the future.

She was in a lot of peoples’ plans for she was someone extra special. She and her husband Dale met when Jillie moved to Lakeport and theirs is the love story that everyone dreams of.

When I read the Facebook post about Jillie’s passing, loud music was playing at the wedding. People were dancing. It was a joyous celebration. I, however, could barely breathe. The bride came over to talk to me and thank me for all the great photography that our team was doing. I nodded, and plastered a smile on my face. Jillie’s news wasn’t something I could share. So, I sat through the next two hours while my times with Jillie flashed though my head and I smiled even though I wanted to cry. I heard the music and remembered how into music she and Dale were. I celebrated with the bride and groom as they left the hotel and threw flowers at them, but threw them for Jillie.

It’s taken me days to be able to write this LucysBuzz. I’ve sent Dale my love and a long letter with hope that in time he will heal from the loss of his soul mate. Thank you for listening to me. I needed to tell a bit of Jillie’s story.

Dale & Jillie, such sweethearts.

Jillie during her modelling days. I always thought
she had the perfect turned up nose!

Me, happy spending time on the lake
with Jillie and Dale. My dream place to live.

Jillie, always smiling!

Part of Jillie's beautiful garden.
With Love, Lucy

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Meeting the Bride and Groom and Their Family

Lipton & Lucy - Your happy photographers!

We love meeting the bride and groom and their families. We all discover if we like each other enough to participate in the wedding together. After all, we spend a lot of time together. We get up close and personal. It’s important to like each other.

Some people want only to get a quote online with no meeting of us at ShadeTree Production. I say, ‘What’s the point?’ People who live in Sri Lanka can definitely come to visit us, meet us, decide if they like our personalities, see our work in person and get a quote designed especially for their special day.

People who are out of the country and have to plan everything online spend a lot of time ‘talking’ to us; chatting, skyping and Viber calling. We get to know each other over time.

Speaking of personalities – I’ve heard many stories about photographers being bossy and rude and just plain unlikable. IMHO the bride and groom need to have friendly photographers, and even fun ones (like us!). I once saw a dresser make the bride cry – how can that be? I’ve heard many stories about photographers scolding the couple if they don’t pose the way they are told to. Come on!

Everything on the special day itself should be special. Happy. Stress free. That’s why we suggest that the couple designate a wedding CEO; a person who can make things happen so that the bride or the groom is not constantly on the phone fixing problems. Wedding planners are good for that. Sans a wedding planner, a good bossy family member is the perfect wedding CEO.

There’s a lot to think of before the wedding – during the wedding the bride and groom shouldn’t have to think, just enjoy!

Silly happy couple!

Very happy!

Happy family!

Happy dad (center)!

Happy groom!

Happy mom & dad!

To see if we are the photographers/videographers for you, call and make an appointment! 
Come meet us!

If your want to book your wedding shoot or a pre/post shoot, give us a call at: 0777 387734/5.

Check out our Sri Lankan wedding photography, travel photography, portrait photography, female photographers, commercial photography at our website at:
© ShadeTree Productions

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Pee Wee Bans Smoking!

I recently found a website of the newspaper, The Northville Record, in my hometown where I grew up. I clicked and clicked for hours on the site to find articles about my mother. She was very active in the community and very active with feeding the birds, scribing for the blind, adopting stray dogs, gardening, and was always written about in the paper.

There was one story I especially wanted to find – the story about our pet bird; a Grackle (or crow blackbird). Pee Wee. That bird was such a character and a crazy member of our family. My favorite memory was of Pee Wee digging into my mother’s pack of cigarettes and strutting around the table with the cigarette hanging out of his beak. Very funny! And once tired of strutting, he’d rip apart the cigarette. He apparently didn’t think smoking was good for my mom’s health!

I wish I had been a photographer back then and had gotten a picture of it!

Unfortunately the picture in the paper isn’t very good quality, but you get the idea.

PS—check out the price of lobsters in the ad below the article!

If your want to book your wedding shoot or a pre/post shoot, give us a call at: 0777 387734.

Check out our Sri Lankan wedding photography, travel photography, portrait photography, female photographers, commercial photography at our website at:
© ShadeTree Productions