“The present is where we live and all we have, yet we know it as small and fleeting” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Sherley Chau by © Lori Maloney

“Sherley heard about our project through a past subject of mine – thanks, G! I LOVE getting to help my subjects brainstorm for their birthday portrait…finding a place, or passion, or character trait that they would like to have conveyed. Sherley, a teacher, loves downtime in bed, with tea and avocado toast, either reading, creating lesson plans, or on her iPhone with friends, and so that is exactly how we shot her portrait! This kind, smart, and engaged woman and teacher is delightful with a warm manner and easy laugh – had a blast shooting this (and was happy to be shooting inside on a cold morning in Calgary!)! Life – with teachers who care – is beautiful!” – Lori M

Image © Lori Maloney

An Interview with Sherley

Q. What is the best memory you have from a previous birthday?

A. I like to send back a fun fact about August 20th to everyone who wishes me a happy birthday. Like, did you know that on August 20th, 1960, Senegal broke free from the Mali Federation?

Q. How about the worst? And why?

A. It was probably my 20th birthday, where I cried dramatically in the middle of a mall because I felt that some of my friends were being rude about dinner plans for later that night. Small children stared, and their parents quickly averted their eyes.

Q. What was the present you’ve received for your birthday that surprised you most?

A. It was a belated gift, but my best friend gave me one half of a pair of green, ceramic baby hands.

Q. Is there a food or dish that you insist on eating on your birthday?

A. Besides cake? Well, can hot wings be festive?

Q. What do you believe is the most important aspect of celebrating a birthday?

A. I think that you should probably do at least one independent activity that makes you happy on your birthday, because who is better at making you smile than yourself?

Q. Do you have any traditions or thing you always do to celebrate a birthday? What is it?

A. Cake for breakfast, cake for lunch, and steak and cake for dinner.