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Smiles, Sherry

Friday, June 13, 2014

What do I want to be when I grow up?

When I was five, I wanted to be a Mommy.  When I was seven, I wanted to be a teacher. When I was ten, I wanted to be a swim coach, because I had a crush on mine. When I was thirteen,  I wanted to be a boutique owner and be 27 years old and sell groovy bell bottom pants and flower power jewelery. Twenty seven seemed so cool. No parents to tell you what to do, you were old enough to still be cute and smart enough to have a real job. Twenty seven, still seems like a good age. I always wear 27 on my softball jerseys!

Well now I'm 53 and still don't really know what I want to be when I grow up. Do I have to grow up? It seems so boring. I worked in the oil industry and a million other jobs in my early years. Then my five year old dream came true... I became a Mommy. I continued to have that important role for over 29 years now.

My love for photography grew and became more than a hobby and I bloomed in Switzerland once all the kids went to school. That was 17 years ago.  I have captured many amazing global things in my career. But my real love was always a pure beautiful child, the love between a couple expecting for the first time,  or a family embracing each other.  The emotion and interaction is way better than the cheesy smile and "normal" shot. I do adore what I do. I even cry sometimes.

But I'm bored.

I'm in a new place. Need to recreate myself over again. New logo, different website, fresh start, marketing! What - Marketing? ewe! Not my thing. I have been more than blessed to have my entire 17 years of work based solely on word of mouth. Customers sharing their experiences.

Doha was good to me. The American Embassy, American School of Doha and Exxon Mobil was very good for Patrizi Photography.  Although, I will never do another daycare in my life. I am at least old enough to decide that.

But here I am in Houston Texas, the city I was born in, with no children to take care of and a big competitive world out there. Searching for creativity and a spark of something to lead me in a new direction. While I decide, it's time to start giving back...

Where do I begin? 

I donated 5 bags from a linen closet to the Texas Dream Center in Conroe Texas a few weeks ago. It is a home for battered women and children. I was looking for the place and expecting a small house for battered women. But I came across a three story building in despair and was shocked by the size of the place. I immediately had a lump in my throat. "Are there this many battered women in Conroe Texas?" I gathered my keys, locked my door and went in to see what I was supposed to do with my 5 bags.

I was greeted warmly by the young lady sweeping the floor. A cute young man helped me bring in my donations of old sheets, comforters and pillows. A sweet elderly lady gave me a picture of a wolf she had torn out of a calendar and told me it was for me! I asked a lot of questions, and left with tears in my eyes as I drove away embarrassed by the huge ring I was wearing and all the gold bling, big shoes, fancy purse, etc... I needed to be bringing 500 bags.
This reminded me of the nursing home my mother was in for 2 years, except with younger people.

I've kept that wolf! 

I was considering taking the kids on a mission trip this Christmas to do something useful and meaningful, maybe in South America. But my friend Debbie, told me to look right in my own backyard. So I did, and I got a wolf.

Today I called to ask more questions about donations, volunteering, and my family cooking for the ladies for Christmas. That is what we can give back. FOOD!!! The Patrizi's can cook!

I am proud to say I am going to a volunteer orientation on Saturday June 21st at 10:00AM.
I am going to stop my busy life of going to Hobby Lobby, editing images, having lunch with friends, tennis lessons and sitting in front of my computer. I am going to see if there is one person that I can help and make a difference in their lives. 

Gosh I hope it is a baby. Just in case, I'll bring my camera....

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What today's imagery is doing to society...

I'm a plastic surgeon.
I have spent the last 10 years doing Botox, face lifts, dermatological rejuvenation, making people perfect.
I sit all day removing wrinkles, scars, moles, bra straps and saggy tits.
Liquify is my best friend. It squishes, squeezes, extends, plumps, and minimizes...
Sounds like a Playtex cross your heart commercial.

Then I do it to myself ~ in real life.
Face scrubs, conditioner, waxing, body oil, pedicures, masks, plucking, moisturizer, Spanx, and anti aging serum (which was complete BS, but I bought it for a million dollars, and by George I'm using it).

That's not even half of it... Then there is under eye cover up, base, powder, blush, lip stick, lip liner, eye shadow, eye liner, mascara, and of course, Sally Hansen leg spray...does it ever end?

What is this thing we call beauty?

By the time I leave the house I have used 37 products.
...and I'm still old.

I've been tugging on my bra straps lately trying to see what it would be like to hoist those puppies up back to where they were when I was 18 again. I need a hydraulic lift in real life, but I can do it in 2 minutes in Photoshop and it won't hurt a bit or cost a dime.
Self image 0. How did that happen?

We have all seen those Dove commercials where they take a model who is gorgeously flawless. They photograph her, then do Photoshop and morph her into something less than human. This is what is printed, fake perfectness. This is what we see. This is what everyone wants, perfectness. We can't just be happy with who we are. The real thing doesn't exist anymore.

I can write about it all day long. I have seen it all my career. An 18 year old beautiful perfect high school senior girl comes in and criticizes every inch of her body and face. A 55 year old fat guy with a beer gut, bald head and acne scars looks at his images and says "Hey man, my biceps look pumped". 

Why can't girls feel that confident?

What have we done? What am I doing to help create this global facade? Contributing...

It started back in the days of world renown artists, Van Gogh, Renoir, Micheal Angelo. They didn't paint the scars, for heaven's sake Mona Lisa does not have pimples. Not one flaw. We are just reverting back to the old world paintings. Photographs are not accepted these days ROCC. (Right out of the Camera) Even the new sony purse cameras have a portrait setting to blur skin tones and take away imperfections. 

That word imperfection means not perfect. We are all not perfect, but want to pretend we are.

I,  Sherry Patrizi confess to have added to the confusion of self image for all people, mainly women. How can we be flawless in such an imperfect world? A world so full of crime, hatred and war. We want to erase the grit and grunge from life off our faces. Maybe if there are no signs of aging, hurt and hard work we can pretend just for a moment, life is perfect.

Like Mona Lisa.

I do not have a solution, I will continue to buy anti-aging products and hang out with young Moms and high school seniors so I may get small glimpses of the past youth that has left me. I will still take off crows feet, age spots and double chins from my customers and on my self as well. All my high school facebook friends and Christmas card recipients think I'm way thinner and younger than I really am. 

If they ever see me in person they will never recognize me.

I'm blaming it on da Vinci!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Falling in love

I fall in love all the time. Not with another man, but with life. I truly fall in love with other people, mainly small ones and often. I know that might sound weird to some of you, but for me, it is easy to love. I fall in love with little people and their parents, I fall in love with a quote, an image, or gadget in the kitchen. I fall in love with stuff, a garden, a puppy, a prayer, or a pair of shoes. I find new things to love.

I know there are some whom do not experience love of any kind. Some who's hearts are hardened by tragedy, a failed marriage, or the loss of the only love they had. Some who have never experienced a true love of any kind. To those I can't comprehend.

I seek out things to love. But the best is in the flesh ~ in spirit ~ in the souls and eyes of those around you. Beauty and love is abundant, even in the desert.

In our expat lives, which to many seems so extravagant and exciting, and for the most part it is, but we have to say good bye many times to people we have fallen in love with. The small ones are always harder, because you don't know when the next time you see them if they will remember Aunt Sherry or Noodle Head.

But we become family. We are not just acquaintances across the world, we are family. There is a special love you can not explain to those to whom you meet abroad. I have said a thousand times I can't wait to be a grandma, but really I have already been one, in make believe. 

For those of you that are lucky enough to have made sisters, brothers, or become a pretend grandma, BRAVO!

Please allow yourselves to fall in love. Fall in love with where you are, and who you have become, but mostly fall in love with people. Become someone's aunt, or sister and stay family forever. Your last names might not be the same, but your hearts are bound by the love for one another that is rare. You will be blessed with a very big family in the future.

And if you are really lucky, one of those faux grandkids will come visit you one day when you are least expecting it.

To those of you that have experienced this "hello I love you, good bye don't forget me", lifestyle we have, you get it.  We are enriched by all those relationships. 
Our paths cross for reasons. 
Continue to fall in love.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Two Mothers Remembered

I had two mothers - two mothers I claim, two different people yet with the same name. Two separate women diverse by design, but I loved them both, because they both were mine. 

The first was the mother who carried me here, gave birth and nurtured and launched of career. She was the one whose features I bear, complete with the facial expressions I wear. She gave me music which follows me yet, along with examples in life that she set.

Then as I got older, she some younger grew, and we'd laugh as just mothers and daughters can do. But then came the year that her mind clouded so, and I sensed that the mother I'd known soon would go. So quickly she changed and turned to the other, a stranger who dressed in the clothes of my mother.  

Oh she looked the same, at least at arm's length, but she was the child now and I was her strength. 

We'd come full circle we women of three, my mother the first, the second and me. 

And now if my own children should come to a day, when a new mother comes, and the old one goes away. I'd ask of them nothing that I didn't do. Love both your mothers as both have loved you.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Our Thanks to those who serve!!!

A few years ago I had the idea of trying to get soldiers off the base for Christmas. At the time the base commander was not in favor of doing this. Doha has two huge bases here,  Army and Air Force with thousands of troops living in barracks in the middle of the desert. A lot of people's sons and daughters are here without family, without their children, wives, husbands and without their Mommas. 

I did not give up on this idea. Over the almost 6 years we have been here, I have hosted bits and pieces of Marines and Army guys at the house for Christmas and Thanksgiving. Two years ago I had the pleasure of meeting the new base commander that encourages civilian contact and an Air Force Lieutenant that has the authority to do the same.  

We hosted about 15 guys in 2010, 50 in 2011 and this year we were able to get 100 Army and Air Force guys off the base, to meet, bless, feed, share stories and even a few hugs. I cried last year when they got off the buses this year I did much better. I didn't cry until the young soldier girl told me she had twins that were 2! OUCH, my Mommy heart ached for her.

I could not have done it without all my friends helping me, my passe, and Raquel (my almost wife). 

30+ families helped supply Grandma's cornbread recipes, Uncle Homers cheese balls, Aunt Floy's oatmeal cookies, Ann Rapp's sweet potato casserole and all the heirloom family traditional fixins.
We are southern, so we make cornbread dressing, other folks from all over the US made their specialties.  The cornucopia was overflowing with our bounty.

Although the prep time to organize this event is quite a task,  
when touching the back of a serviceman during our blessing, reminds me of what little I did compared to the great sacrifice they make for us.

Our safety as Americans, no matter where you live, is protected by many. Even way over here in the middle of no where we are protected by these young, old and currently family-less soldiers...

But for one day, they had us, the community of caring wonderful people who came together to shake hands, hear their stories, pray for them, let them hold other peoples babies, swim, and show them a wee bit of our appreciation of what they do for us.

21 turkeys, 50 USDA t-bones, 5 roasts, plus a slew more was prepared by hand with love. 

Our cup runneth over...

You see, they didn't have their Mommas here, and this Momma didn't have her babies either.
I'm not sure who got more out of the day 
Them or ME!

Appreciating and thanking those who serve!!!