Way back when, we used to take vacations every year in the Fall, and go visit my brother and his family in Seattle, WA. We also took the time to hike Mt. Rainier, which is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.
We would stay in this little town called Packwood, on the backside of Mt. Rainier, and Todd would usually come join us, for a few days of hiking.
There wasn’t anything else to do in Packwood, besides hike, so we would get up early, eat a big breakfast, and start the day.
We are not the type of people to take photos posed “in front of” some landmark or sign. On this trip we had to take pause. As you can see in the photo, we found the most amusing sign, and I made Kevin take a photo of me and Todd in front of it! I think Todd and I saw the potential for a funny Holiday card in it, but we were too tired, from three days of hiking, to ever do anything with it.
So there you go. A photo of me and Todd, in front of a silly sign, in Packwood, WA.
Ah…the Holidays…What a perfect time to showcase the last big photo shoot for our “out-of-the-box” Holiday Photo Cards.
It’s sad really, that there aren’t any more to show after this posting. That’s why I’ve been saving the best for last.
By the time Todd and I got around to this set of Holiday Cards, we were seasoned veterans, in coming up with creative costumes and photo ideas. Our ideas were all over the place, during this shoot, as you will be able to see in the Slideshow below.
We thought we would go for a more “traditional” theme that year, and chose “Feliz Navidad” as our sentiment. We decided to see who could come up with the better outfit, so we kept our outfits a secret from each other, until the day of the shoot.
When I went shopping for my outfit, I knew I wanted to portray a sexy (yet slutty) “Wench” kind of look. Something that looked like my clothes were disheveled and kind of ripped off my body. I was thinking along the lines of having huge cleavage falling out of the shirt but the only problem was, back then I had no cleavage! I found the Red ruffled skirt and White top, and decided that a Black wig would complete my outfit.
I will never forget going over to Todd’s house that day to get ready for the photo shoot. We went into separate bedrooms to change and do our makeup until we were ready for the big “reveal” to each other. I knew my outfit would be the best and I put on my makeup super heavy, and used eyebrow pencil to make thick, dark eyebrows and even used that eyebrow pencil to create a Cindy Crawford-ish mole on my face. (Why I thought a mole would make me look more Mexican, I have no idea!) I had no clue about what Todd would have on, so as we counted to three, and opened our respective doors, nothing could have surprised me more than what I saw.
I remember the two of us just collapsing on the floor in hysterics when we saw each other! Not only did Todd have a hat and serape, he had penciled in a mustache as well. He died when he saw my wig and mole, and again, I think I had to go redo my makeup, because I ended up crying most of it off. Those outfits kept us in hysterics most of the day. (I also remember the mole being on the side of my mouth but in the photos it is up high on my cheek. Go figure!)
When I look at these photos now, I hardly look Mexican or Spanish, while Todd looks like the “real” deal. I look like some skinny chick trying to look as curvaceous as Gina Lollobrigida, and not doing a very good job of it. Todd is in such perfect character, in all these photos, that I keep telling him he should have become an actor.
I keep repeating myself in my blog posts about the power that photographs can have. This shoot was so long ago, that I don’t remember very many specifics about it, but I do remember key things because I see them in the photos, and the photos bring those memories back.
The little dog with us, was my College Professor’s dog, whose name was Max (the Dog’s name was Max, Larry Ward was my Professor!) I don’t know how we got Max there or back home, but it was good of Larry to let us use him, because he also fit our whole theme and played the “cur” dog part, very well. (Although I do see Max trying to escape in a lot of the photos.)
I think the backyard, clothesline, truck and White German Shepherd belonged to Lenore, who was one of Todd’s friends. I think we just barged in on her and started shooting all over her yard and alley. Her German Shepherd also made up one of the most memorable photos from this shoot. We hadn’t planned the shot, it just happened and it all came together perfectly. It’s the one above, where the dog is pulling on a piece of rope I am holding, while I am sitting in a lawn chair, with a beer in my hand. Todd is perfectly posed, sitting on a tire, with his arms crossed, ubiquitous cigarette in his mouth, glaring out from under his hat! I just start cracking up whenever I see that photo! We look like some deranged family in their backyard. I must finally frame that photo and put it up on my Office wall.
And no, I was NOT pregnant in any of these shots! We had some crazy idea that I could represent the Mexican Virgin Mary with Todd leading me along on a bicycle rather than a Burro, so we stuck a basketball under my skirt! Oh Dear! If we had found a real Burro to use, God only knows what photo ideas we would have come up with. (Which just made me realize that we never, ever used any sort of livestock in our shoots…hmm…an idea for the future, perhaps?!)
My favorite shots (besides the one mentioned above), are the ones in the back of the truck. When we shoot, we normally try to avoid the glaring, direct sun. For this shoot, we welcomed the sharpness of it because we wanted it to look like we were in a hot, dusty desert somewhere, South of the border.
I don’t remember which of these shots even made the “cut” as our Holiday Card that year. Todd seems to think we just printed a bunch of different images and sent them all. I think the final image was the one above, with me, Todd and Max, looking out the truck window, so that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
So, while it’s sad that I don’t have more of these kind of photo shoots to share in the future, I hope our “Feliz Navidad” images achieved what we set out to do – which was to make people laugh.
Don’t forget to watch the Slideshow of all our images below, set to some very appropriate music. And no, it’s not the song, Feliz Navidad!
So, apparently I gave this ring to Todd, as is evident by the previous post. As usual, I don’t remember where I bought this ring but I do remember a funny story about it.
Max (the Skull ring) went with us on our pre-graduation trip to Boston and New York in 1983 (Boston Revisited Part 2 – which I haven’t even started to write about yet!) Max went with us into some slimy New York City Dance Club, where we snuck in our own vodka cause the drinks were so expensive. Max ran home in the rain with us, he ate cheeseburgers at 2am in some Diner with us and then he screeched, along with us, when the roaches came out at night, in the apartment a friend had lent us to sleep in.
I remember we slept in armchairs that night because we were too afraid to sleep on the mattress, that was on the floor with the roaches. While I don’t remember the name of that club in New York, I do remember that we hid our umbrella under some bench and I had to sit in Todd’s lap, and pretend to make out with him, so we could secretly pour the illegal vodka into the sodas we had purchased there.
There is even a Super 8 movie we made during that trip to New York, that I can’t find, for the life of me, where my gay bodybuilder friend Mark comes up and tries to steal my bag and when I don’t let go, he just throws me over his shoulder and runs off with me!
When we got back to Boston, after our harrowing experience in New York, we were eating sub sandwiches in some deli in Beacon Hill and just chatting about our experiences in New York. This little old lady came up to us and said to Todd: “Excuse me, may I see your ring?” Todd showed her how Max opened his mouth and she said: “Ooh! The little bastard!”
We about fell off our chairs we were laughing so hard!
That moment was probably the highlight of our entire trip.
I must have given Todd the above-mentioned ring, early in our LA years, because the same day he got it, we spent the day dying our hair (me to black, him to blonde) and piercing his ear. I threw out the photo of me with black hair but I just had to post a photo of Todd as a blonde! Suffice it to say, Todd dyed his hair dark the next day, and I also think the pierced ear disappeared as well. Max the Skull Ring lived on though! Read the next blog post for more info about him.