to rome with love

When was the last time you felt like anything was possible?  Childhood dreams have been on my mind lately, and, more specifically, how the dreams of our childhood shift and change as we grow older.  According to the Washington Post, the top 5 childhood career goals for children are the following:

1. Professional or Olympic athlete
2. Scientist or Pilot (tie for 2nd)
4. Lawyer
5. Astronaut

2. Veterinarian
3. Writer/Journalist/Novelist
4. Singer or Nurse/Doctor (tie for 4th)

How many people accomplish their childhood dreams?  Decide to pursue a goal at a young age, and then, slowly but surely, take steps to make their vision a reality?  Do you think that they are tempted and swayed by other opportunities as they proceed?  Do they feel fulfilled when they accomplish their dreams, or do they reminisce about missed opportunities?

And then, just as interesting and worthy of discussion, are the group of people who, either by choice or circumstance, leave their childhood dreams behind as they grow older.  Perhaps natural talents lead them toward a new dream, or they pursue something else that comes.. well.. easier.  Are these people content with the choices they made, or do they wish they’d pursued their dreams just a little bit longer?

The important thing, I suppose, is not about accomplishing our dreams, but about living a life that we find fulfilling.  With any luck, we are able to channel what impressed us about our childhood dreams (ie: teacher helping others, scientist making great discoveries) into our daily life.  In the end, it’s not about perfectly following the path you planned, but arriving somewhere  you feel content and fulfilled.

As for me, I grew up wanting to be the Ambassador to Italy.  Not a joke.  My eight year-old self told my father that I didn’t want to be the President, but I might like being the President’s helper.  My dad told me that the  Ambassador to Italy ate lots of pizza and helped Italians and Americans become friends.

The case was solved, the issue closed — I would become the Ambassador to Italy (I was also influenced by my dad’s assertion that Shirley Temple was an ambassador).  Until, of course, I realized I would much rather write stories than engage in politics.

Anyway, dear Readers, I was thinking about all this yesterday when I had some sort of divine inspiration for a fall dessert.  I love frozen yogurt enough to become the Ambassador of FroYo, and when I had a near perfect swirl of pumpkin pie and roasted marshmallow, I knew what I had to do :  I invented pumpkin-pie filled chocolate-covered marshmallows.  Can you say that three times fast?

It’s funny how life comes full circle, but I bet the President would make me the  Ambassador to Italy if he tried my marshmallow dessert.  It’s honestly that good.  ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

a kind heart behind the camera

Imagethe only thing better than making people smile is capturing that happiness in a photograph.  photographs have this wonderful ability to express emotions and convey ideas that are often impossible with words – essentially letting the photographer express the unspeakable.

i went to cinque terre with a dear friend, emily, a few years ago, and i kept asking strangers to take pictures of us together.  i wanted to document the memory and have images to review when i felt compelled to ‘remember the time.’
emily happily agreed, and she smiled at tourist destinations until my collection of images grew large enough to fill an album.  never once did emily ask someone to take a picture of her, and when i inquired why, she explained that she liked being behind the camera – capturing other people in moments that she could look back on.  she was more interested in documenting the sincerity, genuineness, and spontaneity that characterizes the candid, private photographs.

at the time, her response only prompted me to grab her camera and see what gems her sneakiness had produced.  since then, however, i’ve continually reflected upon that moment as being very revealing of her selflessness.  it takes a kind heart to find the infinite in seemingly ordinary, every day activity.

luckily for me, my wedding photographer didn’t ever get very far from away from her: