My Dad - Stream of consciences - Happy Father Day - UNEDITED by Melanie Grizzel

father, family, photographer This is my Dad. This is all him. Very unassuming, gentle, outdoorsy, coffee and sweet loving dad.

When I was very small, my fondest and most clear memories of my Dad was us going to Coast to Coast on Saturday mornings. Just looking through all of the fun stuff trying to figure out what our next big project would be. We went every Saturday, at least that what I remember. We were very close, but I was, deep down, a momma's girl.

When I was 9 my parents separated. My mom sent us to a friend house and packed our things and left in the middle of the day. I didn't get to say goodbye, but I was 9 and for some reason wasn't that effected with her decision. I didn't get to see my Dad for several months while they made their arrangements. I remember the next time I saw him. We moved from our home with him to Chicago for under a year, then to Texas. We lived in an apartment complex, and I don't remember how my mom let us know he was coming but she did and I saw him as he rounded the corner under harsh night time lights. I realized then how much I missed him, but the time away had taken it's toll. We didn't really know each other anymore. He got a job in the area and bought a house, took us on the weekends and did his best to be the ideal "see you on the weekend dad." But it was never the same as out Coast to Coast days.

We got a little older, I am in my teens now and Dad is Sooo uncool, and dare I say embarrassing. So our distance grew wider, in retrospect I realize he was trying very hard. He offered all kinds of things including an outing to see Haleys Comet. "Once every 86 years, this is your only shot." No thank you thought, I'm sure I had some extremely important teenagery things to do.

I wish I had gone, I wish I had done a lot of things.

One of the things my Dad has done for as long as I can remember is he will set up all of his music gear the night before my birthday and call and sing "You says it's your birthday!" I can't remember when it started but I remember being turned off by it when I was a teenager. I think as a teenager your turned off by everything. When I moved to New York I moved all over the place and he was always able to keep track of me, for my birthday call. I was only 22 and my teenager still hadn't completely warn off by then. Then one year I remembered the day before it was coming and wondered, "would he call?" Why, yes is the answer, on my cell VM, my work VM and over my home answering machine. After that I made sure to have the phone near by when I went to sleep, is he was going to drag out of bed at 6am to give me my birthday song, then I was going to wake up for it. I still sleep with the phone near by the day before my birthday.

This year marked our second annual Grizzel, Howard, Parks, Howe weekend in Tin Top, where all of these shots were taken. Even as late as last year I was still in my "Dad's a dork phase." This year I suggested a game of badminton and while we were playing, I found myself grooving to a non-existent song. Then I looked across the net to find my Dad dancing to the same song. It was in that moment I realized just how much we're alike. Later that day my sister's family, the Parks were close enough to meet them up the road and we went for a walk up the country road to meet them and it was one of our favorite parts of the whole trip. The Howes and my Dad walking and pulling B in the wagon, we had a great chat and fun horse petting adventures. It was simple, and so memorable.

He's found his gentle nurturing side, he never got it much at home as a kid, so it took him some time to develop that skill. He's got it now, and in full force. He's a great father and grand-father, or Papi as he likes to be called.  I thank Martha and Dad for this short trip in the summer , a chance for all of us to get to know each other without the burdens of computers and cell phones. I got my Dad back.


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Austin Family Photographer


Fear. by Melanie Grizzel

I grew up with a fair amount of fear. But over time as I grew, it got worse for some things: heights, deep water, speaking in front of crowds. Of course, I have had therapists explain that fear is just a manifestation of things that could happen, but probably won't. I get it. But I'm still afraid. I discovered a couple of fears while they were currently happening. In high school I had to give  a presentation to my senior English class. The moment my feet hit the front of the classroom, I could feel the fear welling up and it was a new sensation so I didn't realize what was happening until my palms began to sweat. As it became clearer to me that my time to speak was coming up my fear deepened. I spoke in front of the class and made it through but I am sure afterwards I ran straight to the bathroom and wept until the fear passed. About 10 years ago, I came to visit my family from New York and we went to the lake on a borrowed boat. We all had to go to the bathroom so we all jumped off the boat to take a pee. I realized when I was mid-air that I was afraid of the water and turned around to grab hold of the boat and scraped up my entire front side trying to hang on. I was so paralyzed with fear, I couldn't even do my business. I had to get back on the boat and wait for shore. The heights thing I just always knew, there wasn't anything specific that did it.

Eight years ago I was commissioned to photograph Method Man in NYC. I went to Slim Shady's record label and sat for the entire day waiting for him to arrive, I drank about seven Red Bulls before I realized what was going in. When it was clear he was not going to meet us there we all shifted gears and went to the studio to meet him. While we were waiting in the studio, a member and producer from the Wu Tang Clan came out to find any ladies who would be willing to lay down a track for them. I was among just three ladies there and I wasn't up to anything until Method Man was ready. But I couldn't do it. I was so terrified - of everything - that I just said no and I swear there is not a year that goes by that I don't think, "dammit, if only I had done that, what a fun experience that could have been and proof I was even there".

I didn't have any interesting revelations then. I was still a kid and not really thinking about missing out, I thought I was taking it all in.

My husband's family has made a tradition of the "Christmas Eve Program." Each member of the family takes a turn and speaks on video camera about what they have done for the year; it's an amazing time capsule. I remember like it was yesterday how deeply terrified I was when Steve told me about it. I panicked about it more than I panicked about our impending plane flight (and I panicked about that a lot). But I went through with it and I am so glad I did. My experience starts when I first starting dating my husband and we are now 11 years in.

Two years ago, I was faced with another chance. I was shooting a project for Door Number 3, an Austin Ad agency. On the last day of shooting we were supposed to go to a zip lining tour. There was a platform in the middle of the run that I could use stairs to get to so I didn't have to zip. My art director and my entire crew was suiting up and I couldn't, just couldn't be the odd man out. I was so nervous but the moment I stepped off that platform, I knew: I can do anything. I've been three times since. It was such an awesome experience, I am almost ready for Amazing Race ;)

Last summer my family rented a boat and we went out to Granbury Lake (is that a real place? that's at least near where we were.) You know about my water thing. I knew the plan was to go to the middle of the lake and bob in the water (with our life preservers.) I psyched myself up and was able to inch my way in and bob freely in the water and to prove my fear was gone. I did a full-on Kawabunga into the water. I lived to speak about it. So it went well. It was awesome, I was still a little skeeved about what kind of wildlife might be down there (in fact just the thought of it now makes my legs go to jelly), but I did it once, so I can do it again!

About a month ago, I met a DJ at a wedding I was photographing, DJ RJ Johnson/ Music 4 Life Media. I sent him a disk of images from the event. He called to thank me for my effort and asked me to sit for an interview. I LOVE it, so smart. It's like me making a portrait of someone I've met. I agreed and then put it on my calendar. I went through my calendar about 20 times since I wrote it down and each time I saw it  I thought, "Oh, I'll just cancel." But I didn't let myself cancel. I wanted to see where this could take me. I was scared to death, but I went and did the interview of about 20-30 minutes. It was perfectly fine, I didn't sound silly or embarrassing, I didn't vomit or cry, I did just fine. And now I have this new experience to draw from and I couldn't be happier.

My interview.

I guess the moral of the story is be fearful, because it will keep you safe and alive. But don't let it stop you!

Now go get em'


End of an Era - Personal - Austin Wedding Photographer by Melanie Grizzel

Austin Family Photographer Today is the day Patty and Jim Howe (my husband's parents) sign the deed away to their home of 33 years on Guava Avenue in Seal Beach, CA. Later this month, they will become Austinites. My husband grew up in this house on Guava. We went back in May to say goodbye to the house, and strangely it wasn't as hard as we thought it would be. Steve says "the house has been changed so much, it's not the house where I grew up anymore."

I have been with my husband for 10 years and I remember meeting my MIL for the first time in that house. It is the same house to me, most of those changes were made by the time I came into their lives. I have so many memories in that house. I remember the drive from the airport to their house the very first time I ever went to CA, specifically the vegetation. When we got there I was beyond thrilled with my MIL's garden. Flawless. Patty and I had many glasses of wine while we sat in the garden and learned all about each other.  We had wine and chatted while we made meals together or pruned the garden and chatted. We did a lot of chatting.

Now I have a whole flood of memories coming back to me... I remember coming home from Brad and Anna's wedding, for no particular reason, I just remember that night as being something special. My bridal shower was a year or so later, held across the cul-de-sac at Holly's house. Patty's four best girlfriends Holly, Lois, Katharine, and Ginny got together and created an amazing wedding shower for us. After our wedding in NY, Patty threw us a reception in the backyard with all of her cousins and close friends from CA who couldn't trek to New York. While my husband did a show in NY, I went to stay with my in-laws for a week alone for his cousin's wedding. Patty and I had a great time!  There was the wedding, but also the small dinner party we threw for Grandma Peggy and Kitty in the backyard. It was an awesome night, though maybe we had a little too much wine!  We over-cooked the pork loin and completely cremated the vegetables and Kitty asked, "where are those gorgeous veggies I saw on the counter?".  And as if it were on queue, Disneyland's fireworks started firing. Amazing night!  The next year we went for Thanksgiving and the dining room was a little small for everyone so we folded out a couple of kids tables (mind you most of us are in our mid-30's already). It was at that dinner that we discussed our readiness to have a baby and within months of that chat, Brad and Anna announced their pregnancy and within 3 months of them, we announced the same. B has been to CA several times since he was born: once for Christmas and many little trips here and there, including Grandma Peggy's memorial in 2009.

The things I'll miss most about that house and Southern California?  The weather.  That glorious weather!  The way the air feels in the morning blowing through those curtains in the guest room. Coffee and the paper in the breakfast nook. The Beach. The flowers, all the colors.  The fountain and the smell of the backyard. Ralphs. In-N-Out (duh). Red Vines. The way you feel when you set down your luggage. Walks around the neighborhood. Grandma Peggy's beach house homeyness. Now it's Brian and Janet's house and it's just as comforting to be there. I'll miss seeing Kyle and Kelsi so much, I've known them since they were in Jr High. Brian and Janet, Steve's crazy hilarious aunt and uncle, I will miss them very much too.

Over the course of the last week, Patty and Jim have collected and packed all of these amazing memories into boxes for storage, while they make their way to Austin and a new life. A life that includes watching Baby Bishop growing up on a daily basis. She'll make all new friends and find new organizations, buy a new house to make all new memories. She and Jim have never lived more than one hour from where they live right now. Her Women's Club friends have been with her for 40+ years. She is passing it all up for B.  He better be a good boy.  No more toilet brush eating kid.  The pressure is on for sure!

Austin Family PhotographerThis is why they're coming!

Austin Family Photographer

Seal Beach pier; the bay at Belmont Shore; the garden; breakfast nook coloring

Austin Family Photography

Brian and Janet's deck in Belmont Shore; Video chat with Uncle Nolan; Seal Beach Pier; Cousin Kelsi

Austin Family Photography

We'll miss you all! Holly (TL); Kelsi and Brian (TR); Lois and Patty (BL); Mike (BR);

Austin Family Photographer

B and Mocha (TL); Uncle Brian the way EVERYONE thinks of him (TR); Aunt Janet on the beach *perfect* (BL); Steve being himself. I love that man (BR)

Austin Family Photography

Patty's Garden; backyard; Seal Beach Pier; Seal Beach Pier

Austin Family Photography

the house.

Austin Family Photography

Family dining in the backyard, just the way I'll always remember it (TL); Jim (TR); B leaving the Beach (BL); Family time (BR)

Austin Family Photography

View from the kitchen; B; Dining room; cleaning our feet

Austin Family Photographer

Coffee and the paper.

Austin Family Photography

We'll miss it.


Tuna Fest! 2011 - Austin Special Event Photography by Melanie Grizzel

private chef Last year we had the honor of working with Brandi and Lee Barnwell for their wedding at the Barr Mansion. We were a perfect fit from the start, we had a great time together even from our first meeting. Then we became quite good friends with them. They met in culinary school and Lee went into a sushi restaurant right away while Brandi followed her passions into the pastry and sweets department. Lee works for a pretty popular Sushi restaurant here in Austin where a small gorup of groupies have gathered, well they snatched Lee up and a 50lb Tuna and brought them home. We were invited to this little soiree, I know, lucky us! The food was amazing and so was the wine, ambiance and company! We can't wait for next year.

Thanks for having us guys.

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austin Special event photography

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Tomo sushi

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Tomo Sushi

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Austin Wedding Photography and Design

My B - personal - Austin Children Photography by Melanie Grizzel

at home childrens photographer I had a beautiful baby boy 2+ years ago. I had all of these ideas about what kids would mean to me.

baby portrait austin

My mom, while she had to work extra hard to keep us in food and clothes, was an ideal example of what parenting was/is. She loves wholly. It's hard to describe that perfect kind of love.  I remember bits about my childhood and life with her and just remember always feeling like I was wrapped in a warm embrace. I thought for sure that would be the type of parent I would be, think only of my children and making all of my decisions based on their welfare, exclusively. I'm not like my mom, I have a million interests and a career I LOVE. I spend a fair amount of time away from my son, and for a while I thought he didn't care for me too much.  I recently took him to meet his new baby cousin Rhett when he was born and I had my son on my own for 3 days. No Daddy.  No Nanny.  I was scared. How would I handle every moment on my own?

It's amazing to me that there are people out there that love children so much they want to work with them all day.  Our Nanny and my mom would easily take a child on their own and play all day and do all the things a child would like the entire day. I like doing laundry and dishes (not really, but I DO like when they're done.) How can I do all of the things in life and still give my child all of the things he needs like college, cottage cheese and playtime? He went through a particularly bad period where he would whine constantly.  As a parent I thought you can tell what's wrong with your kid, but that was on average. Everyday he would whine and I wouldn't know what the problem was but that I knew he couldn't express himself and this was the base of his frustration. WOW this was a rough patch.  Sometimes I can say I wasn't sure if I even liked him, every day was a struggle and I would think why did we have kids again?

Then today I woke up and he was laying on his belly three feet from the cat and asking her "What's your name?" I said "Her name is Mamma, she doesn't talk like you." He ignored this altogether and proceeded with, "Kitty, what's your name?" With that my heart swelled to an unprecedented size and burst into a million baby hearts. On our one-on-one trip to see his baby cousin that immediately trailed a family trip to New York, we bonded. We really connected, his health is good and he is learning everyday more words and putting phrases together. We started with, during his terribly rough patch, "May I have _____, please" it really helped to curb the whining, and he is very capable now. He uses the phrase for everything "May I have cottage cheese, please?" for obvious reasons. And "May I have playground please?" when he wants to go play. And when I wasn't pushing his swing fast enough "May I have higher please?"

Now I know if he is crabby which is usually once every couple of weeks, it's probably because he is tired or bored. We're told all the time what an easy child he is, which is always followed with, "wait till the next one!" usually with a little snicker... Oh yeah?! maybe we just make good kids.

sleeping baby photography

his beloved Bunny Bear, never leaves home without him. Neither do we ;)

Raising a child is a balancing act, with each success there is a usually a new challenge.  In our case, he can communicate but that means he can now express a preference to sleep in our bed instead of his own. Just when you think you've got this child rearing thing tapped, a new situation presents itself. You discuss with your spouse what the next move should be and implement. Then hopefully that problem is solved and you can ride a 2 to 3 day parenting success wave before there is a new issue you get to work on. When my son was due I was scared out of my mind. Not only, "Will I be a good parent?" but also "How do I keep an infant breathing?" these were my concerns. I had a good friend tell me, "God wouldn't present you with a problem you can't solve." Luckily all of those problems don't come at once. It is years worth of weekly challenges, but with each issue comes real hugs.  "I you too," which is Bishop speak for I love you,  and this....

Austin children photography

Sometimes I think my heart may burst with happiness.


Austin Child Photographer

9.30.10 She-N-He Austin Wedding Photography and Design by Melanie Grizzel

This is my first post on my new blog. I am embarrassed to say that I am reading word for word, the instruction manual on Word Press and hoping not to feel like a fool. It seems this Word Press business is a lot harder than I thought it would be. Though my learning curve is a serious arc. This weekend, my Mother by Marriage (yes, step-mom but none of us like the term,) arranged a get-away for our whole communal family. Dad, Martha, Hillarie, my sister, Doug, our brother-in-law, and Reagan our niece. Steve, He, and I and our son Bishop. Martha's daughter Crystal and her husband Michael and their soon to be baby Emma.

We met up in Tin Top, Texas for a long weekend at a sweet house. We tubed on the river, played pool, swam, cooked out, and over-all bonded with each other. It was such a great weekend. we had a blast! I have some pictures but since this is my first post and I am still trying to figure out how to add pictures I think I'll hold off on that.

Thanks for keeping up with us.

Until next time.


6.8.10 My House by Melanie Grizzel

I love my house. I love the way it feels in the early morning, the rooms are dark but the light from the kitchen illuminates the dining and living areas, it's quiet, it just seems to be getting ready for her day. I love later in the morning, the light just pours in from all angles and there is a peek through in the dining area that shares the light generously with the living room. All of the rooms are painted a different color thus sending a new message every step from the bedrooms to the kitchen. We've lived here for 4 years so far and this feeling never seems to fade. I walk from the office to the kitchen, on the way for a cup of coffee and I often think "I am IN LOVE with my house." 

I have always been a mover, my whole life, we would pick up and move from place to place, state to state, school to school. 7 schools, I think, before I wrapped up Elementary. Same system after that, but many different dwellings in between. My New York life wasn't any different the shortest amount of time I stayed in a house in New York was 8 days. I moved in with a friend and our sublet, essentially recalled it at the drop of a hat. My longest in New York was 3.5 years and I was aching to move on. But here, this house, I could stay here forever. 
We've planted plants and flowers and this year put in a tree, we can't stay forever, but we can make it even better for the next family who lives here. So they have the same deep affection for our tiny, little oasis. We've started our family here and Bishop as he grows get to experience this house. The galley kitchen goes to the dining room on one side and living room on the other side. Bishop is walking/running now and  sometimes I think the layout was for Chase. When we move forward in our lives and find a new house, bigger, in a better neighborhood, all of the trimming. Bishop will always remember this house is the house he came home too when he was a baby and we planted our tree in his honor. When he's 40 he can swing by his first house and see his tree. 
Don't get me wrong our house is modest in her square footage, but it would make our NYC friends blush from the excess. The house is situated on a mature tree lined street in an otherwise scary neighborhood and we will have to leave our house when our first is ready for classes. But for now, it holds a romance, that is palpable. It's our own little secret Eden. 
The sun is trying to peek through the clouds and the house is starting to flood with light, I have to get back to reality and doing some editing before our house is alive with the full energy of the day.
Have a wonderful day.

2.24.10 for fun by Melanie Grizzel

Yesterday in Austin, Tx... it snowed. I know, you can't believe it right, well I have proof. 
It was the first time in 14+ months that Bishop boy has seen snow so I snatched him away from his morning breakfast so we could get a shot of him with the snow. There wasn't much, but he could sit in it and had to wear a hat and his favorite Lakers jacket.
Thanks for looking.


Austin Wedding Photography and Design

2.14.10 Happy Valentines Day by Melanie Grizzel

Tonight Steve and I opened a new bottle of wine for a left-over dinner, we used good place-mats and tended to the baby no less that 5 times times. Watched taped Amazing Race. Now we're off to bed. 

There is something blissful in finding rhythm and joy in the everyday.
I wish it for everyone.
Happy Valentines Day.

2.13.10 Weddings by Melanie Grizzel

I love weddings. In fact, in about and hour I am going to capture for all time, a wedding for a blissfully happy couple in Austin. It's amazing knowing that there is this wonderful service that I can provide. These images will be a part of their lives for their live forever and its exciting to know that my life has impacted someone else's in such a way. I feel like the luckiest person in the world. Thank you for letting me be a part of your life.

On another note. This morning over breakfast with the baby, Steve and I talked about what our wedding day was like. We put together a wonderful collection of wedding memories on audio tape for just this reason, it's funny to see what our mind recollects now. I remember a bubble bath and a lunch date with my girls. I know there were unplanned things that happened and someone might even consider them to be "bad," I didn't. The fond memories are the only ones that stay with you. My sister would say that worst thing that happened at out wedding was she forgot to bring my vows to the alter, I handed them to her and didn't tell her what it was for. So I turned to her in the middle of the service asking for them and she didn't have them, my husband and I skipped over this moment. I never cared about it, but she thought it was the worst thing in the world to ever happen. Even now I have to really work at it, to retrieve this memory. I guess what I'm trying to get at is this; you can plan, and plan, and plan and plan, but we're human and things go the way the universe wants them to. 
Be open. Life is a long journey. Enjoy it.

2.11.10 Inspiration by Melanie Grizzel

Yesterday I was asked by a couple who I met with, where I found my inspiration. It was such an excellent question and I wanted to share my answer with everyone. 
I find my inspiration in everything, color, texture, expressions, everywhere. More literally, I find inspiration in location, fashion, grooming and personality. People inspire me, sometimes the people I get to work with are afraid of the camera and it's fun to see them come out of their shell, and that's inspiring. And sometimes I get to work with "old pros" in front of the camera and it's a whole different kind of inspiration. I also keep a collection of pictures and illustrations that inspire me daily. I have a bulletin board on the wall that I tack all of this imagery into. I keep collections of graphic art and photography books. I find inspiration in everything, I love Books, Movies, Magazines.  I subscribe to PDN, Dwell, Cooking Light, Entertainment Weekly, and Time. I have a handy camera around incase a movie or a show has a nicely blocked scene. I take a shot of it and save it for my wall. In this batch of images you'll see some images from Cobis images, you'll see a clip from Mad Men, and scene from The Reader. Some several classic French and American advertisements. 
Inspiration can come from anywhere. Especially from you. 
Thanks for asking.

Austin Wedding Photography and Design

1.22.10 It's been a while. by Melanie Grizzel

I know it's been quite a while since my last post infact I have a couple of good things to post but I've been so busy wrapping up last year still I just haven't had the time. We are getting ready to overhaul the entire office, maybe this weekend. 
Since the year began though, my dear baby Bishop turned 1 year old. Can you believe it?
I can't! So in honor of him growing,  I thought I put up a few pictures of his growth and progress. This year has seen a weight gain of 18lbs, we're so proud. Plus the addition of, count them, 5 teeth. He is sitting up, crawling, smiling, talking (no actual words) and the most currently and my personal favorite, laughing not only with you but when he thinks something is funny. I LOVE it. 
Here are some of his sweet picts from the year.
Thanks for indulging me. I'll be back to proper posts next week.
Take good care.
just born

first smiles

sitting up.

almost crawling

new teeth

clean, and confused to dirty sugar rush!

January 2010
Austin Wedding Photography and Design

12-1-09 whoa... already? by Melanie Grizzel

Where has this year gone? I mean I understand that we had a new baby in January and essentially started our business this year. But honestly, do we deserve this year, the years whizzing by like loose calendar pages? Are we living in a Frank Capra film? I understand as you age, time becomes more about the people and things in your life, more so than about you alone. But really, this quick?! 

My husband's family has the most amazing tradition. Every year on Christmas Eve we all gather around the Christmas Tree and talk about our year to a video camera and after we report on our year we sing Christmas Carols for an hour or so. It's such an amazing tradition. The first year I visited his home for Christmas I participated in this tradition that was almost 10 years ago. I'm glad I started at the beginning because before we tape this year's "Christmas Eve Program" we watch the "Program" from 10 years ago. 
The first year I visited and saw the program my husband was 16 years old and during his year talked all about getting his drivers license. So cute. The first year they have it on video my husband is just 8 years old and he reads "The Night Before Christmas" for the camera. These pieces of our family's history are priceless. And I'm glad I get to be part of them. 
This year our son gets to make his debut. I can only imagine how amazing it will be for him when he's 30 and brings his wife home and gets to see what it was like when he was just 1 year old. 
Try it. I felt hokey on camera the first couple of times but now I know to make a note of all of the years events and be ready when it's my turn to speak. 
I hope this Holiday Season is the best it's ever been.
All the Best.
Austin Wedding Photography and Design

11-2-09 Pet Project by Melanie Grizzel

I don't shoot a ton of stills. But I started working on this little project quite a while ago. You can shoot all day long and the spent fruit never gets tired. 
We eat a lot of fresh vegetables in our house and occasionally one of them will get away from us and get tucked away until we find it again later, usually with a spawn. They don't seem to rot they instead sprout. They are so beautiful when they sprout I can't resist shooting them. Sadly other people don't think so. Steve leaves them for me but if my mother in law or my mom come in town I'll find a shiny new vegetable in the place of the old sprouted one. So I'm careful to get them shot and out of the house before we have company.
Here is the latest. It's a Turnip. And it was still yummy for dinner last week.


Austin Wedding Photography and Design

10.9.09 Textiles by Melanie Grizzel

My Mother and Father-in-Law are in town for a wedding last weekend and record convention this weekend. So they've spent the week with us hanging out and playing with the baby and just over-all making our lives a little easier. In April my MIL, Patty, helped me pick out textiles for a set of curtains and out dining area, probably our favorite part of the house. Those textiles have been collecting dust since then and this week she convinced me to start working on the curtains. So we have been working on them together, it feels like an excerpt from a coming of age novel but it really has been such a blast and honestly I'm not sure I ever would have found the time to do it on my own. Maybe once the baby is graduating or something. The pattern on the fabric from Franny's < here> is a delicious retro orange a brown combo. We almost forgot what it looked like and got all giddy again when we rolled out the bolt again for the firs time.
Here a few shots of us hard at work.
Thanks for looking.

Austin Wedding Photography and Design 

9-18-09 Wela Debbie by Melanie Grizzel

This blog is a tribute to the woman who risks life and limb to drive to Austin from Dallas every weekend to care for Bishop and clean our house ;) 
The best mom in the whole world and best Wela any 2 grandkids could ever have. 
And overall the pied piper of anyone under 5. 
My Mama.
Thanks for looking.

Austin Wedding Photography and Design

9.11.09 Sadness by Melanie Grizzel

The towers fell out of a crystal clear, blue September morning sky. Just 5 months after I started dating my husband. Just 6 years after I moved to New York. Just 25 minutes after I left my house that day. Just 40 minutes after I missed the call from my Mom asking me "What the hell is happening out there?" 

She had heard already the plane had hit the first tower, while on her business trip to Chicago. I didn't even know it was going on until after the 1st tower fell. I was headed to a meeting and they all knew it, I called Steve from their landline and screamed into his phone, terrorists are attacking the WTC. I asked his to call from his land line everyone we knew to tell them we were fine. On my way home I passed some construction workers who were briskly walking toward the river, proclaiming "the next one is going to hit Time Square," I lived at 43rd between 9th and 10th. For you non-New Yorkers that is about 3 short blocks from Times Square. I ran home to my apartment and ran up the stairs and my first familiar face was Miguel who gave my first hug of security that I craved after all of this. We ran into our roommates room who had a TV, the TV was pointed north and the window we watched from was pointed south. So we watched it live and live on TV as the second tower came crashing down. We were sending emails home to family as fast as we could and I was convinced it wasn't over, I told my sister I loved them and I would miss them. My best friend Rhonda worked in an office building on Spring Street and Varick, she could see from her desk, tiny figures dropping out of the windows. I'm sorry she has to live her life with that memory. 
I lived in a building with a number of artists we all laid on the king sized bed on the 1st floor all 5 of us watching the news, that clip of the plane hitting the second tower as the first tower was burning, over and over again it played. 
About 40 minutes after the towers fell, I heard my Mom's voice for the first time, she still had no idea if I was alright, she was in full on panic mode. Some strange man answered her phone and called out to her, he told me that she has been waiting to hear from me. She picked up the phone and I could sense the bottom dropped out from under her, she was so scared.  About 1.2 hours after the towers fell Rhonda walked in the door after walking the 2-3 miles home from her office (the subways were closed.) She was covered in dust and soot and I remember hugging her and thinking that we might make it through this. About 4 hours after the Towers fell Steve called and and told me that my mom called him and said they opened the Subways and that I should get my ass to Brooklyn with him and safety. The subway ride was surreal, it seemed normal but everyone knew it wasn't. I got to his apartment and he met me at the door. In that hug I knew that I would be alright. We stayed awake all night watching that image on the tv over and over again. 36 hours after the towers fell we went to Philadelphia for a Ben Fold concert, by way of the Verrazano bridge, the same bridge we took when we moved away from New York, 5 years later. There was a great plume of smoke coming from ground zero and the rescue effort was far from over. We saw the Liberty Bell that day. I love Ben Folds for not canceling that show, it was the best distraction I could think of, though every loud noise or low flying plane, anything like that would strike me for years with paralyzing fear. We drove home only to pass the lower part of Manhattan once more, this time it was just blackness and hazy from the smoke. For weeks after, every time you were in the subway you were struck with the images and words from families missing their loved ones, walls and walls, miles of missing persons signs haphazardly scrolled on paper, desperate for answers.  Heartbreaking. For years after, every time you were with a group of people at a party, concert, restaurant, anything. The conversation would always end with where were you? 
I have moved forward like so many others never got the chance to do. I've been married and had a baby. The lesson I learned was that you never take for granted what is most important. My family.
Where were you?