To Debbie on her 50th birthday

31 12 2007

My younger sister, Kelley, wrote this sweet and funny letter for an album I created for Debbie’s surprise 50th birthday party (1/8/2005)


There is a ten year age difference between me and my sister Debbie. Many of my memories of Debbie are from the perspective of a young girl who couldn’t wait to grow up to be just like her big sister. There are certain memories associated with various people in my life that identify what those people have meant to me. I recall these often—without reason—but always with great fondness. My memories of Debbie are:

When I was six or seven years old, Debbie was: skating and boyfriends, beautiful hair and go-go boots, short dresses and a page boy wig. One time she dyed her hair so black it looked green in certain lights—pretty funny to a little kid. She was also in high school—that elusive place that kids are in awe of until they get there. She was beautiful to me…she hung out at the skating rink and could even skate backwards. I remember her rounding those corners and flipping her hair out, doing that jive-talking move. She had her own skates with big pink fuzzy pompoms with jingle bells on them. And she had friends that were boys. That was a big deal to me. I remember going with Debbie to meet Duke in the mall parking lot. I don’t know what they talked about, but he had long brown hair and I thought he was so cool and I had a crush on him. I also remember Tony and Rick Chiavacci. One of those brothers would honk his horn in front of our house—that didn’t make my father very happy. I also remember my mom making her buy us Christmas presents one year—she bought us Goody barrettes and wrapped them in Bandaid boxes.

When I was eight years old and throughout my teen years, Debbie was simply my older sister. She lived at home with us when we first moved to Donna and she had her own bedroom with a furry purple bedspread and flowered curtains. Mom used to put laundry on Debbie’s bed to fold—the laundry was then pushed off the side of the bed, against the wall and out of sight. I know that happened at least one time. Debbie took guitar lessons and learned how to sing “Hang Down Your Head, Tom Dooley”— always a crowd-pleaser. She wore cool clothes…sizzler skirts, wide legged pants…“lounge lizard larry” disco blouses and she had an 8-track player. She wore Charlie and drove a Maverick—she was ultra cool. She saw “The Sound of Music” too many times to be possible. She also worked at Sears for a short time in the candy department. Did they even have a candy department? She moved into her own apartment at some point and got married when I was in the sixth grade. I thought she looked beautiful. Her bridesmaids wore flowered dresses with butterfly sleeves and we ate Swedish meatballs. Cindy and I were too young to be bridesmaids, but I imagined myself being up there with her other friends. She also went to Hawaii one time with Bill—this was used to impress all my friends. She and Bill took us to the drive-in with them to watch “A Star is Born,” but Cindy and I watched the steamier movie on the other screen through the tiny back windows in the Elite. I think we fooled them. Why didn’t they question us with our faces pressed against one side of the car? This has always been a mystery to me.

In my late teens and throughout my twenties, Debbie was married and a mother to Lauren and then Landen. She was still cool but she did end up driving a mini-van—a far cry from the Corvette she always said she would drive. She loaned me money to buy some clothes for my first job at the bank in Donna. Did I ever pay her back? She moved to San Antonio and I eventually lived there for a while and the age gap between us began to shrink. How does that happen? Every Thursday night, we watched “Knots Landing” together to make fun of anything and everything.

We would also watch any and all beauty pageants together for the slight chance of seeing someone trip or reveal just a touch of cellulite. We were all over that one. If we could have seen the contestants toes, we would have made fun of those also. Not sure why we did this but it was a lot of fun. Debbie and I took cake decorating lessons together. She excelled at this—I did not. I just had fun hanging out with her and her friends. Debbie let me and Thelma put Landen in a big mixing bowl and spin him around the kitchen floor when he was a little baby…just a couple of times, for grins. She also let us use the pizza pan. He had fun and we did, too. Is that a cool Mom or what?

In my thirties, Debbie has become much more than my big sister. That age gap has officially closed, or so it seems. That thing she does called “motherhood” is now part of my life and only until recently have I begun to realize how trying—yet richly rewarding—being a mother can be, and how both my mother and Debbie have set great examples for me to live by. Debbie can be described in many ways—wife, mother of two beautiful children, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, co-worker, baseball mom, flag mom, dancing machine, confidante…the list goes on. The person that Debbie has evolved into through the years is a person that I admire, cherish and love—both as a sister and as a dear and trusted friend.

Here’s to Fifty Years of Wonderful You…Happy Birthday, Deboo!

Editor’s Note: Debbie says that she sold shoes, not candy, at Sears. And yes, there was a candy department at Sears at one time.

Why you, I oughta…

31 12 2007

Two more of Emily’s rescued cats faced off this afternoon….I realize it’s not a terribly well planned shot (those point ‘n shoots aren’t much on capturing action sharply!), but you can still feel the tension, can’t ya?

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Miss Peggy

29 12 2007

Miss Peggy is one of the many cats that my sister’s neighbor has rescued and given a home to in San Antonio.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Think pink

26 12 2007

These are some of my favorite photos of my niece, Macie. She’s four now and I think these were taken when she was 1 and 3 years old. In the top series of photos, we sat her in a plastic chair in front of the background and she started making these faces. I had just enough time to shoot about a dozen images before she flitted off to do something more exciting.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Picture this: Summer in Dallas…July 2007…at Kelley’s house (my sister and Macie’s mother). I crocheted a pink hat for Macie (her favorite color is pink, as you can see), and when I finished, I wanted to photograph it (of course) and she was none too thrilled to sit still for the photos. I got four fake smiles out of her and then this shot. As soon as I saw it, I flashed back to getting started in portrait photography in Donna, Texas…my father recruiting Kelley to pose for me any time I came up with an idea for an image…and while I did get some beautiful photos of her during that time, I also got my share of images with this exact same expression, too. Like mother, like daughter.

Of course, in all fairness to her, Macie’s expression might have also been the result of being asked by her crazy aunt to wear a 1/2 inch thick chenille hat in 100 degree Texas heat. Ya think?


Happy Birthday, Diamond Lil!

26 12 2007

Today is mom’s 76th birthday! We took her to Macaroni Grill for her honey balsamic chicken fix. It was just the girls, just like we did last year. Here she’s coloring with her 4-year old granddaughter, Macie.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.



25 12 2007

Imagine Santa visiting you at home in Dallas in the early morning..and then after your family travels the 5.5 hour trip to Mema and Papa’s house in San Antonio, you find he’s been there, too, with more presents for you. That Santa truly gets around, doesn’t he?

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Elephants? This must be Tuscaloosa!

22 12 2007

These elephant statues were outside the hotel where Gina and Michael and I stayed Friday night. Who knew elephants were indigenous to my birth state?

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Okay, now that’s just plain lazy, Cindy

20 12 2007

I’m trying to get out of town. And desperation to meet my “photo per day” quota is setting in. Fish are always handy. Not a great shot, but it will suffice. At least the composition has some merit. Please accept sincerest apologies for my laziness, Brian.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


What? Another fish?

19 12 2007

Yes. I confess. I’ve run out of time again today. So I turn to the ever-present fish for a last-minute subject. Shame at my lack of creativity today is enveloping me. MUST GET OUT TO SHOOT TOMORROW NO MORE FISH

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Pea in a pod

17 12 2007

Today’s photo is of baby Henry (again). He’s fast becoming my favorite bambino to photograph because he’s such a happy baby. Stephanie stopped by yesterday and hauled in this carrier completely enclosed (where’s Henry?) and when she undid the top, here’s what I saw….baby Henry, snuggled in and smiling (as usual)!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


The $500 free fish

7 12 2007

HERE’S THE SCENARIO: My friend Gina’s beau-friend, Rob, was remodeling his house over a year ago. He had this then-5-year-old pleco (and he is already about a foot long—the fish, not Rob) in a 55-gallon tank in his kitchen. Apparently Spot did not figure into the remodeling scheme and since we already had goldfish (and knew a bit about the fish world), he asked us if we wanted the fish—tank and all. We enthusiastically said yes!

And so, renamed Spot for obvious reasons (don’t recall his original name), said fish made his bumpy journey the 4-5 miles from Rob’s house to ours in a huge tupperware container. We already had a 29-gallon tank housing three goldfish in my studio. After heading out the next day to the aquarium store to buy a black metal stand for the tank (Rob had a homemade pine 2×4 contraption that just didn’t fit into my studio decor, so we politely declined that accessory), we assembled the free 55-gallon tank on the stand and inserted free Spot into his free home with his free pump and accessories. (While out buying the metal stand, Michael upgraded the pump and impulsively bought decorative items and such at the store).

Later that evening, after Spot’s big move was completed, Michael sits down to dinner and casually says, “the tank is bowing.” I notice there is no panic on his face, so I begin to do the freaking-out for him. He says, “oh, don’t worry, I braced it with vice clamps!” Ugh…men! The strut across the center (depth-wise) of the tank was broken, so the tank appeared to bow a bit front to back. I could just imagine it exploding in the night and Spot fending for himself on the Berber carpet….and water, water, everywhere! Knowing I would lose sleep from that point on (not to mention how unsightly bright orange clamps look on the tank), I sent Michael out to buy a new 55-gallon tank. While en route, he pondered the size of the (rather large) goldfish we had in the 29-gallon tank and decided they needed a larger tank, too…and why don’t we just buy another 55-gallon tank to house them? It would be a nice balance side-by-side to Spot’s new home. Of course it would…so I put my stamp of approval on that idea (I know, let’s blame it on my star sign, Libra, the scales—we’re all about balance, you know). Of course, that necessitated another stand, pump, accessories, etc.

A few months later, declaring that Spot “must be awfully lonely,” Michael adds in a few new gourami friends (four separate trips required to purchase these friends due to the fact that they all kept wanting to go to “rainbow bridge”) …now you can see why we call Spot our “$500 free fish.” Many thanks, Rob. 😉

(I must confess, though, that Spot has been a model fish-pet. I really have no complaints—other than the fact that he wasn’t really free after all.)

SIDEBAR: Wikipedia claims they can grow up to two feet long. Egads, this fish is going to end up costing even more than $500, if that proves true!


Mother & child

2 12 2007

I photographed Stephanie, husband Tom, and baby Henry at her home yesterday as a congrats gift to the family. Henry was born September 25, 2007 and is very much doted on by his parents!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Beauty and grace

1 12 2007

I jumped on the opportunity to photograph a production of The Nutcracker this past Saturday night. I was hired to photograph a young dancer, Alexa (shown in the collage below), for my Hearing Loss Magazine. I photographed the entire show, but concentrated on getting shots of her for our magazine. This was the first time I had seen The Nutcracker and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Hats off to the Classical Ballet Theatre ( for this beautiful production! Stay tuned for additional photos of other dancers from this troupe. I’ve photographed a play or two before (in my college days), but this is a first to cover a dance performance. It was fast-paced, colorful, and challenging shooting sans flash in a dark theatre with varying light plays and lots of movement!

I googled for details on the history of The Nutcracker Story (ashamed to say I knew little about the story until now), and found this:

The NutCracker Ballet

In 1891, world renowned choreographer Marius Petipa commissioned Peter Tchaikovsky to compose the music for Alexandre Dumas’s adaptation of E.T.A. Hoffman’s tale “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.” Its first performance in 1892 was a complete failure –– its critics and audience disliked it. However, since then, The Nutcracker has been the most widely performed ballet in the world. Almost every ballet company from Australia to Europe and Asia to America performs the The Nutcracker during the holiday season. The reason being, in 1954, George Balanchine, yet another world renowned choreographer, created a new production of The Nutcracker. If you’ve seen The Nutcracker, it was most likely a version based on Balanchine’s.

Learn more at:

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


And a few more images…