Sunday, February 27, 2011

big girl

I thought I was whipped.  Beaten.  Bested by an inanimate object. 

I've never let myself fail at what I set out to do.  I have failed in life, have no doubt.  But not without giving my best effort.  When I run into any kind of insurmountable problem (something that seems to be impossible to solve), I tend to react emotionally for a bit, then step back and look at what is happening from every angle.  

It isn't that I am an optimist.  It is that I believe there is no problem in life that can't be solved.  If it can't be solved, then it at least can be worked through, or sometimes, at worst, endured.

Big Girl came into my life several months ago.  I've mentioned her several times.  She took Big Boy's place, because he was defective and uncooperative.  I thought when Big Girl arrived that I would be able to take her and conquer my world in photos.

Not so.  She was uncooperative and temperamental from the first day.  A hefty weight, she recorded every shake of my hand, took advantage of the fact that I am nearly blind, and scoffed at my attempts to record the beauty and magnificence around me.

But again I say, I have never failed, not with something I set out to learn.  I followed every clue online I could find, looked at the work of photographers I admired.  And struggled, making little progress.

So I kept reading, and reading, not really understanding the terms I was reading.  Until finally I ran across some articles online that opened my eyes.  Literally.  Or maybe it just took a while for it to soak in.  All of a sudden I understood some of what Big Girl has been trying to tell me.  I started listening to her.  She was never against me, she just took a deeper understanding than Little Girl did.

So this weekend we were on an outing with the twins, and I had a mission.  To FINALLY get some meaningful photographs that were intentional captures, and not accidents of nature, glitches.

And it worked!  I got several photos that were firsts for me.

Like this action shot of the twins.  This was the first time I captured movement on purpose.  Most of my photos have been headless blurs.  I've taken hundreds, thousands.  I know practice will improve it, but I was so excited to see this shot that I felt I had won a prize.

Then there was the shot of the kids in the stairwell at the tower on top of Mount Cheaha.  The highest place in Alabama, and I wanted a photo to remember it.  The kids stopped for a minute on a turn in the stairs and I saw the perfect photo opportunity.  I got the following shot.
Following are several more shots I took, what I feel are my best photos of the day, and show that I am making improvements in learning a new craft, a new skill.  One that will enable me to chronicle my familys' life, and the beauty of the world around me.

The way I see it.  The way I want to share it.  And so I share with you what I learned, discovered and thoroughly enjoyed this weekend.  And if you have something you are struggling to learn, or accomplish, remember that all things are possible.  Persevere.  It's worth it.


Friday, February 25, 2011

...friday moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
” is a ritual I found on Life inspired by the Wee Man adopted from SouleMama.  Check out their blogs…these are beautiful, and if you are moved too, please leave a link to your Moment in the comment box below.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

...odds and ends

Just a few of the things that have happened during the past week...

Jim shaved his beard yesterday (after I had written the post about him) his baby doesn't recognize him.  Jim told Steve that John stared at him, grinned, then reached for Tara saying "mama, mama".  Maybe John will recognize this stranger who has moved in by the time he starts school.

You already know about the smoky eye.  Steve laughed at me.  I'll get him back.  Well actually, he got me back for laughing at him about the pseudo goiter (turned out to be nothing, just Steve trying to get some free nursing advice).

I'm still practicing the smoky eye.  I bought new makeup yesterday.  WHEN did makeup get so expensive?  I spent almost $60 and could hold it all in one hand!  I'd go commando, but that would be scary.  Worse than wearing a smoky eye.

Wretch has a new iPhone.  We play Words with Friends on it like fiends.  I was able to legitimately beat her at first.  Then I felt sorry for her, because she was under so much stress with school and work, so I let her beat me a couple times.  We have another couple games going, and she is winning BOTH games.  This means I play for blood now. 

Took the kids (yes all three of them, and it took 3 adults to manage a day trip, and keep up with them) to the Aquarium in Tennessee last Saturday.  We got a late start.  (Lesson 1: always get started early and eat all your meals on the road.)  On our way home, I wanted to stop at a Cracker Barrel so the kids would have a chance to eat some vegetables, and not just fast food all day.  The waitress was so sweet.  She asked each child what they wanted to order, looking them in the eye and listening carefully to them.
Maddie: I would like shrimp with mac and cheese, and white milk.  And don't forget to bring some cocktail sauce too.
Duncan: I want pancakes and iced tea.
Jack: I want pancakes and white milk.  You do have milk here, don't you?
We all laughed at this, including the waitress.  The kids just looked at us like we were nuts.  So much for vegetables.  They almost fell asleep waiting on their dinner.  (Lesson 2: stop for dinner before 7PM on road trips.)

prelim sketch
Jen went to a Kid Rock concert.  Had a blast.  (We kept the kids.)  The next day she was showing me all the photos she got.  (She was excited because she was in the fourth row and saw him spit on stage...)
"Mom I could see his cell phone in his pocket!"
I told her they were good photos, even though they were fuzzy...then she said the fateful words...
"Mom could you paint him for me?"
Now, my kids rarely ask us for anything.  They are good kids, and Jen has had a year of change and struggle in her personal could I say no?
So...I am attempting my first painting of a rock star...for Jen.

And that's about it...week's almost over and life is what it is...good.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

the son becomes the father

Yesterday I was reading some more about aperture and shutter speeds and this evening I was out practicing shots with my camera.  I am beginning to retain some of what I am reading, although I feel I am trying to speak a new language here.  The language of the eye.  From my soul, to my eye, to the camera lens.  And slowly but surely it's happening.  I am a willing student.

When I had just finished my practice shots and walked into the house, my son Jim drove up.  He had a headlight out Steve told me, and wanted some help changing it.  Steve has always been a mechanical genius in our family.  He can literally fix anything.  He says he can't, but I can vouch for the thousands of dollars he has saved our family with his expertise.  I didn't think Jim was as adept as his dad.  Because I didn't think he ever spent enough time with his dad to really learn much of what Steve knew.

As I stood and watched, and got some more practice shots with Big Girl, I had to stop.  I was watching Jim move around the car and gather tools, and begin to repair the car, and it suddenly hit me so hard that it brought tears to my eyes.

He looked so much like Steve, his movements, the way his hands worked, that I felt suddenly thrust back 25 years in time.  I could see Steve at Jim's age again, moving around, working on things.  And I watched through my tears as Steve stood by, ready to help Jim if he needed it.  The headlight was soon changed, with only minor advice from Steve.

When did this happen?  When did my son grow into a man?  A father of his own sons?  Just yesterday he was my chubby blond baby, smiling and happy.  How fast time goes by, like a whisper on the wind, heard one moment, and then fading away.

And standing there watching them, I suddenly felt my own mortality, and saw that youth had passed from father to son.  As it should.  As it was destined to do.  And with the touch of melancholy I felt, was also a feeling of satisfaction.

We raised this son well.  A son to be proud of.

cooking and memories

No, this isn't a food blog.  People who know me will tell you I only cook when I have to.  Like today.  We are having lunch at work (we do a covered dish lunch once a month so people can get together and have some good food).  I usually miss most of these lunches because I either: a) forget the date, or b) I'm on the road checking on the people I supervise (work stuff).

So I am trying to think of something red, pink or white to fix today (every month has a theme and because this was Valentine's Day month, they thought up this theme).  I am brain dead for ideas because if I cook it has to be: a) a one dish recipe, or b) a recipe that means something to me on an emotional level.

Emotional cooking?  No.  Emotional attachment to the person who gave me the recipe.  The recipe I chose to cook today is from one of my nursing supervisors.  Gail was actually the first nursing supervisor I had when I graduated from nursing school and started working.  We worked night shift and in the middle of the night when we had a lull (most nights we did, but many nights it was 12 hours of nonstop running), we would swap recipes and talk.  That was how I got to know Gail.  She was one of the best nurses I had the privilege to work with.  Old school, because she had been a nurse for many years by the time I started my career.  And was a fount of knowledge.  When anything came up, I knew Gail would be able to give us some advice on how to handle it, and she would step in shoulder to shoulder with us to help us.  The kind of supervisor you want to back you up. 

She was the supervisor whose arms I crumpled into on the night I had my first two code blues back to back.  I'll never forget after the second code, when we were standing there knee deep in the detritus from the code cart that had been thrown everywhere during the code, and I was trying to figure out how I was going to face the patient's son as he dealt with the death of his mother.  I was in shock.  Gail looked at me and said "are you all right?"  I thought I was until she said that, but that unleashed the tears.  She gave me a big hug and some reassuring words, and I felt like I could go on then, and finish what had to be done.  Gail was like that.  She always knew.  What to say, what to do.   

One night she gave me a recipe for meatballs that she said was the easiest recipe she had ever made.  And it was.  My family loves it and everyone I have given the recipe to loves it.  It goes like this:

1 pot boiling water (3quart pot about half full)
lean ground beef- shape into meatballs and drop in the water (I use about one pound of meat)
1 bottle Chili Sauce (I use Heinz- all chili sauce is NOT created equal)
crushed gingersnaps (I add about 8) into the pot when it is boiling
small amount salt

To crush the gingersnaps I put them in a freezer bag and use my rolling pin (an old Grapico bottle) to smack them until they are doodle dust.  The gingersnaps thicken the meatballs.  You serve them over wide egg noodles that have been cooked.  And that's it.  A recipe even a noncook like me can live with.

And every time I make this recipe I think of Gail.  Like I did this morning at 7 AM.  And I relive some old memories while I cook.

Monday, February 21, 2011

an eye for an eye

Wretch was home for the weekend.  And we did what we usually do when she comes home.  The girly thing.  I colored her hair and  she painted my toes. 

She'd read the blog about the Jerseylicious smoky eye and my struggle to master the look.  And my failure.  So she offered to show me how to do a smoky eye.  And being no fool, I jumped on the offer.

First she showed me how to do it by putting makeup on one of her eyes.  Then she demonstrated on me.  I laughed at her because she had makeup on only one eye, giving her the appearance of a Dalmatian. 

She put some kind of base on my eyes from a tube.  Rubbed that in.  Added neutral eye shadow, then put eyeliner on me and blended it. She said I was doing much better than Jen because I didn't scrunch my eyes shut every time she got near them with the makeup.  Proud of myself, I glanced at her, saw her coming at my eye with a pencil, and scrunched.  Just a little. She added eyeshadow in the crease of my eyelid, then blended it down the lid to the lash line, and also added shadow under my eye to give that blended smoky look.  She explained each step and I really felt like I was getting a makeover.  I stood up and looked in the mirror when she finished.

Boy, talk about drama!  I had smoky eyes that would rival anything those Jersey girls sported.  I felt like a drama queen and was loving the look.  I went into the living room and Steve walked through. 

He stopped.  Stared at me.  His eyes widened and bulged just a bit (I still think he has a goiter).  Then he snorked and started laughing, shook his head and walked off.

WHAT?  I hollered after him...WHAT'S WRONG?

He came back, grinned, and called me by the name of someone we both knew.

We call her Raccoon Eyes.

Friday, February 18, 2011

the other gimlet eye

Steve got me back for laughing at him the other night when he told me he had to have a thyroid ultrasound.  I thought he had it done that day, but it turns out that today was the day for the ultrasound of his goozle (his word for neck).

So he told me he had a goiter. 

Me: what goiter?
Him: the goiter in my neck.
Me: you have a goiter?
Him: (he snorks) well the girl who did the ultrasound said she wasn't supposed to say but just between us, there was no goiter.  She couldn't figure out why the doctor ordered an ultrasound.  
Me: well that is good news.
Him: yes... I told her my TSH level was one point low, and he sent me for the ultrasound.
Me: well now you know you are ok.
Him: yep and she said that I would have other signs if I had a goiter.
Me: like hot flashes and your hair falling out and stuff.
Him: well I don't have any symptoms.
Me: actually it wouldn't be a bad thing to lose hair.  Maybe that hair on your back would fall out.  You'd probably end up bald all over.
Him: well you can shave me anytime you get ready, and anywhere you want to shave.

I gave him the gimlet eye then.  What had gotten into my normally conservative husband?

Me: you'd let me SHAVE you? Really?
Him: I'm retired now and don't have to worry about the men at work laughing at me in the shower, so yes you could shave me.

By now I am snickering and thinking evil thoughts.  And Steve says something obscene.  I promised him I would never blog about the obscene stuff.

So I am stopping now.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

to heal

I was 40 years old when I started nursing school, and no greenhorn to life.  When I graduated from nursing school, I truly expected to be able to go out and heal everyone I touched.  That was my goal.  I thought it was a realistic expectation.  I knew people died in hospitals, but I didn't think it would ever happen to me.

Shortly into my nursing career I had a wake up call.  In one night I lost two patients.  Not quietly or peacefully.  No, I had two code blues.  Within an hour of each other.  And lost both people.  I was devastated.  After the second code ended, I crumbled in the arms of my nursing supervisor.  I will never forget how that felt.  I felt like a failure.  I had done something wrong, or not done enough.  I spent hours trying to figure out what I could have done differently.
I finally realized there was nothing I could have done.  Sometimes, with all we do, and doing our very best, it just isn't enough.  So my thoughts and beliefs gradually changed as reality set in.  Very seldom did I get a chance to help someone "heal".  Mostly I spent my time stabilizing what was going on medically and trying to teach them how to stay healthier.  Sometimes I was somewhat successful, but much of the time I saw the same people come back again and again, sometimes to the point that there was no way to retrieve and stabilize them.  And so they died. 

It is hard to watch people die.  I have a place inside my head I go to when I am losing a patient, so that I can support that person and the family.  Because that is what nurses do.  We support.  We spend time.  We listen.  We provide for the basic needs of the body and protect the dignity of the individual.

So I spent most of the past 16 years working in many areas.  I have done orthopedic, general surgery, cardiac stepdown, general med surg, neurology, pediatrics, and psychiatric nursing along the way.  Psych nursing is my true love, and pediatric nursing was my least favorite.

Until I went to Alaska.  And was placed on the pediatric side of a hospital unit out in the tundra.  Bethel was four hundred miles from Anchorage, and the only way in or out was by plane. 

I thought I would be miserable on the pediatrics unit.  I had not enjoyed doing pediatrics 12 years earlier, and thought it would be another round of the same.  But as I worked there, I discovered something.

I was a seasoned nurse now, and all the previous experience I had helped me to deal with sick babies and support the parents.  And I loved it.  Absolutely.  For the first time in my nursing career I was able to see my patients actually heal, and go home with smiles on their faces.  Sometimes they literally ran from us (we gave that nasty tasting medicine after all, and poked and stuck them with needles).  But I knew that for the most part, they would grow up to be healthy, happy adults.  We had awesome, caring doctors, and I worked with some of the best nurses I have ever had the privilege to work with.

As I talked about Alaska yesterday, I talked about my toughest case.  The case that was my epiphany.  That brought all my thoughts and experiences into one cohesive understanding of what being a nurse was all about.  We had a baby brought in with burns that happened when he innocently pulled a pot of boiling eggs off a hot plate and spilled boiling water on his right side, from his face down his chest and arm.  It was one of the worst things I had seen in my life.  I stood by day after day and watched the wound care nurse and physical therapy debride and dress those burns.

Then the weekend came, and guess who the debridement fell on to do?  The pediatrician and me.  The pediatricians at this hospital were probably the best I have ever seen.  They amazed me with their skill, their understanding of the culture, and their caring attitudes.  I particularly looked up to this pediatrician, and trusted her implicitly.

So we medicated the baby with IV Morphine and debrided.  And to debride a burn, you SCRUB it.  Hard.  You have to debride to keep the skin from scarring, and to allow the antimicrobial ointment to prevent infection of the burn.  The person I was telling this story to asked me how I did it, how I listened to the screams of the baby (there was no way to deaden his pain completely, the morphine just took the edge off his agony) and I told her that I went to a place inside myself and focused on what I was doing, and kept repeating to myself that it was to help the child, to help the child, over and over like a mantra to myself. 

We repeated this for several days, because the wound care nurse was out.  I helped the pediatrician, and I helped the physical therapist.

Then I noticed something.  The child was healing.  New skin, and we were debriding less and less every day.  And his screams lessened as the pain lessened.  He was HEALING.  When the wound care nurse came back and saw how well he was healing, she praised our work.  By the time he went home, he had on just one or two small dressings that we taught his mom to change, and gave her ample supplies to do at home.
And I realized as they left, that I had done what I had believed I would be doing when I became a nurse.  To heal the sick.  To send people home to live a healthier life.  I had a hand in that.  And the gratification I felt was worth every minute of all the years I had studied and worked as a nurse.

I felt it all the way to my soul.  And knew in that moment that you follow a path not knowing where it leads, until you get to the end.  And realize what the purpose for traveling that path was.  Everything I did as a nurse, led me to that baby.  And a greater understanding of what a nurse is, and why I became a nurse.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

...jersey smoke

 I don't watch much television.  And I hate reality shows.  There are too many, and who wants to sit on a couch and watch someone else's life?  I avoid all reality shows like the plague.

Until Jerseylicious.  I was sitting in the living room doing some watercolor sketches one day, with the television running in the background, not really paying attention to it.  Then I heard something that made me look up and noticed it was a show about a salon full of overmade up, aggressive women.  I decided to watch, mainly because my sister owned her own salon for 25 years and I thought it would be fun to compare the east coast to the west coast.

By the end of the show I was hooked.  DRAMA.  Big drama.  Lots of arguments, and people trying to outmaneuver others.  Competition. Love. You name it, they had it all on the show.

What really fascinated me were the women.  The makeup and hair were unbelievable.  The stylists said it was the "Jersey" look.  I couldn't look away from the heavy tans, white pink lipstick, hair extensions, and skin tight clothing.  So I set the DVR to record it for me.  Because I knew there was no way Steve would ever watch this show. 

And I watched, week after week.  And you know what?  Underneath all the makeup, and hair, and weird clothes were a bunch of women just trying to make a living.  I started to look past the drama, histrionics and thick layers of makeup and see what was really going on.

Just a bunch of regular people trying to get ahead.  Not any different than anyone else really.  They might look and sound different (I live in the south after all, so their looks and accents are horribly fascinating), but they were just a bunch of girls (and guys) living life large.

I realized at the end of the season that I had a different attitude and perspective about the show.  I could see the realness of them.  Past the hyperbole and flash.  Past the bravado and glamtrash looks.

And I liked what I saw.  I still hate reality shows.  But I love Jerseylicious. 

But don't tell anyone I said that.  Oh, and I am trying to master the art of the Jerseylicious signature "smoky eye" look.

So far I just look like a racoon.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

the gimlet eye

I was tired when I got in from work today, and headed straight for some hot tea.  Steve was in the living room in "his" seat in front of the television.  He started telling me about his day.

Today was Steve's checkup at the doctor.  Not a complete physical, just some labwork results.  So I wasn't expecting much.  He was worried about his blood sugar, because he's been fighting with his diet to keep his numbers manageable.  And they weren't cooperating.  I was expecting to hear that the doctor had zapped him about it and threatened to sew his lips shut permanently.

So I was surprised when Steve said "I had to have a sonar today."

Me: what sonar?
Him: a sonar a sonar, you know.
Me: what did they sonar?  (remember we are in separate rooms and he is hard of hearing)
Him: they sent me to that building in back for a sonar.

By now I am standing in the doorway to the kitchen and looking at him.  He may not be able to hear me  but I know he can read my lips.

Me: WHY?
Him: they think my thyroid is messed up.
Me: you had an elevated TSH then, and your labwork showed something.
Him: I guess.

I take a really good look at this man I love, and see how dejected he looks.  Every time he sees the doctor, they are discovering something else is out of whack.  I know he needs reassurance that he isn't falling apart with old age, some loving supportive words that will buoy his spirit and show how much I care.


I have this picture in my head as soon as he says thyroid.  Of Marty Feldman.  And once that picture enters my head I just have to say it...

"Well honey, I have noticed you are a little pop-eyed looking lately...kinda like Marty Feldman."

He gives me the gimlet eye as I turn to go back in the kitchen.  I am laughing out loud, harder by the minute.  And I hear him say...


I just laugh harder.  What he doesn't know is that I love Marty Feldman.  Bulging eyes can be real sexy. 

Especially if they are looking at me..

Monday, February 14, 2011

why i read blogs

Some ideas roll around in my head for a while before they hit text, and some just pop in my head and onto the keyboard with little effort.

This is one of those things that has rolled for a while.  I mentioned it in other posts, without going into detail or cramming something down the reader's throat.  With things that I feel passionate about, I tend to drive it in the ground and break it off.  (Or ad nauseum, my family would be sure to add.)

Loving to read is something I share with many people.  But why read blogs?  Funny, but yesterday I was reading a post about why people write blogs.  But my thoughts have been on the other end of the blogophilia spectrum.  Why read them?  There are certainly more out there than can possibly be read by any one person, or even a small army of people.  So why do I read them? 

Simple.  I like people.  I like everything about people, and what makes them the way they are.  And many bloggers are very good at exposing their thoughts, feelings and beliefs online.  When I read a blog, I feel I know more about that person.  Some blogs are easy reads, making me laugh, and others make me cringe in horror or sadness at what the person is revealing.  But I read.

The one thing I have known with unwavering belief since I was a child is that what I read changes me.  Not just what I learned in school and college, but everything I read.  It changes me.  Sometimes in such a slight way that I barely notice, and sometimes my knowledge and beliefs make a major paradigm shift.  But always I am changing. 

So the simple truth is, there is a world in books.  And there is also a world in blogs.  It may be instant gratification for writers, but blogs that are well thought out and executed are something to sink your mind into.  Something to make you grow and learn.

Something that can change you.

*Note: This is the blog I read yesterday that made me stop.  And think.  Have a look and make a comment if you will: Some Days or Now

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Today the phone rang.  We have caller ID, like every other person who wants to avoid phone ninjas, and Steve saw that it was Jen, so he answered.  This is how the chat with Jen went:

Steve: hey big time (her nick name since childhood)
Dunc: (hollering to his mom) hey mommy, it's Gramps, he wants to talk to you.
Jen: hey daddy.
Steve: hey Jen.  You didn't call me.

It wasn't a question.  It was a statement.  That fast, the jig was up for Dunc.  Busted.  That's right, a 5 year old got hold of his mom's iPhone and dialed his Gramps.  And panicked when Gramps answered.  And tried to cover himself the best way he knew how.

He lied.  Only being 5, it wasn't a very good lie, and not deceptive enough to fool Gramps or his mommy. 

But being the laid back people they are (most of the time), Jen and Gramps laughed, and that saved Dunc's bacon.  So Jen gave Dunc the phone back (he had made the call after all) and he and Gramps had the following conversation:

Gramps: what you doing buddy?
Dunc: we are helping mommy make Valentimes cookies.  Because tomorrow is Valentimes Day.
And that was about the end of their chat.  Dunc isn't crazy about talking on the phone.  Evidently he just likes to dial.  Let's hope he doesn't try to dial Timbuktu.  He would probably connect.  (Roaming charges.)

Steve said he could hear Maddie screaming in the background: "THEY ARE NOT VALENTIMES COOKIES!  THEY ARE JUST COOKIES!"

And while all this was going on, Jack was dancing to the Monster Mash.  Spontaneously.  With different steps, and singing the tune too.  I was dumbfounded and poked Steve so he would see him.

Steve: well! he can dance.  And he's good.  That is something his dad and I can't do.

(I know.  Jack gets it from me.)

*Note:  here is another good blog to read... Katyboo1's Weblog.  She writes about her life, but her style is so amusing I find myself chuckling...and glad I took the time to read it... She was recommended to me by Josie Speaks Up.  And I am so glad Josie did.  Australians have marvelous wit and humor.  Read both, and enjoy.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

to pee or not to pee...

Nothing earth shaking today...just my two cents worth of them anyway.

Beautiful today...sunny but oh, so cold in the shade.  We took a short trip to Natural Bridge and went to the small park there.  I was surprised there was still ice and snow on the ground, and icicles hanging from beneath the natural bridge.

Turns out the bridge is sandstone that iron ore has done something to, and it forms a natural bridge...Steve knows the technical stuff about it.

All I know is that it was beautiful...and peaceful, and we were alone most of the time while we were there.

I like having Steve with me on these trips, and having been married so long, he isn't offended when I am lost in my thoughts while we are riding, and looking around me at the sensory overload of beauty my eyes are dealing with, and just grunt an "uh huh" when he tells me:

"there's Uncle Toon and Aunt Lucy"
me: uh huh
him: they are buried there
me: uh huh
him: there's where that parts place is.  I always wondered where it was, now I know how to get there.
me: uh huh
him: there's mother and daddy
me: you sure?
him: yep, there's the cemetery.
me: uh huh
him: I don't know why they keep calling me and trying to sell me more stuff, another marker, corner markers... I already own two plots.  I may just decide I want to be cremated and have my ashes flushed.
me: uh huh

then I realize what he just said...and I actually draw my thoughts together and make a whole sentence:

me: you know you don't have to be flushed, you can be scattered anywhere.  Or maybe one of the kids might want to keep you.

We walked around for a bit, then I noticed he wanted me to go farther and farther.  I was thoroughly chilled by then from standing under the bridge, so I followed him like a trained dog.

THEN he revealed his real reason for our walk:

him: I have to pee.
me: you can't pee here
him: why not?
me: it's a state park and you will be arrested for desecrating a natural wonder.
him: oh
me: and besides you can just hold it til we get back to the gift shop.  There is a bathroom there.
him: oh

(His eyeballs were floating by then and he was down to monosyllables.)

We made it back, he used the facilities, and then we headed home, passing through Jasper and stopping at Guthrie's to get some chicken strips to eat with salad at home.

We got all the way home, and Steve started hollering when he opened the chicken.  I figured it was because he was so glad to have chicken.  It wasn't:

"They %*#*&^ us in the drive through.  I'm mad.  I'm not a bit happy about this."

They knew at Guthrie's that we probably lived in the country and wouldn't take the time to drive back for dipping sauce.  They were right.  I ate in silence.

Then I got my cameras and disappeared to edit photos.  Some things are just better left unsaid.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

what happened?

Wretch and I have been emailing back and forth.  She asked me to scan a baby photo of her and email it the other day so she could use it on Facebook as her profile photo, baby divas or something that she and her friends have going on.

I told her no problem, I had a couple saved to my hard drive and would email them before I left for work.  So I went to the computer, found them, relived a few happy baby memories looking at them, then sent them merrily into cyberspace to her.

She emailed me back last night...

"I was such a cute baby- what happened?"

I thought about making a joke of it, and sending something sassy back to her in reply.  Wretch and I tend to joke a lot...she has my sense of humor.  So we understand each other's barbs completely.

I suddenly typed back one sentence and sent it to her.  This is what I said:

"You turned into a beautiful woman."

Sometimes the simple truth is best. 

Recommended blog for today: A Blog Day Afternoon.  I enjoy the smart observations made by this mom I follow...

Friday, February 4, 2011

this friday moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

” is a ritual I found on  Life inspired by the Wee Man adopted from SouleMama.  Check out their blogs…these are beautiful, and if you are moved too, please leave a link to your Moment in the comment box below.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

strange bedfellows

I have to say that in 40 years of marriage, some of the funniest, weirdest, and most disturbing conversations have happened in our bedroom.  Case in point, last night we were getting ready for bed.  Steve is an up with the chickens and to bed with the sunset kind of guy.  I am a night owl, have been since I was a kid.  I used to stay up reading or painting most of the night while everyone slept, knowing mom would have me up with the sisters and I would be in sleep deprivation for the day.  But it was just my nature and I couldn't change it.

Except last night, because I had only about 4 hours sleep the night before, I was tired.  So I decided to go to bed when Steve did.  Which was a mistake.  Because we had the following conversation:

Steve is talking, LOUDLY, about how cold he is. I tell him that's what he gets for sleeping in his drawers. That is when he decides to be witty...he thinks...
He says "how do you know I'm not naked?"
I say "because you always sleep in your drawers."
He says "how do you know? You can't see under the covers."
I say "because even blind without my glasses I can see that big white spot go around the end of the bed to the bathroom at night."
And he (being him), says something obscene because he has no good comeback.
And I (being me), snorts in disgust and laughs in disbelief.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

pocahontas phil

This morning Steve came running through the house like a madman.

Steve: we gotta plant a garden as soon as the ground dries. Groceries are sky high and getting higher.
Me: they just got high in price today, this second.
Steve: well no they've been going up all along. And it's going to be an early spring so we gotta PLANT!!!
Me: and how do you know that?
Steve: Pocahontas Phil said so.

I just looked at him and shook my head in disgust as he left the room. Then I heard him laughing down the hall.

The man is a demon. And he'll be killing a groundhog and trying to feed it to me if I don't watch him.

He's evil that way. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

...photographing jello

This weekend I had John for just a little while, before his mom took him to see his Nana.  It was early morning, he had a full belly, and was in a great mood.  So I grabbed Big Girl and began taking photos. 

I soon learned that taking photos of babies is like photographing jello.  John would be in a perfect position, or have a perfect expression, and I would take what I thought was the perfect shot.  I took about 1,000 of those perfect shots, or so I thought, until I started looking at them on the computer.  Most of them were blurry.  Because just as I pressed the shutter, he would move.  Just a little.  Sometimes a jello.  And it would be blurry.  I kept some of the blurry ones, simply because I loved his expression.  But I dumped about 90% of the photos I took. 

I am still learning about my camera, kind of like learning to drive a Cadillac without a driver's license.  I've borrowed a book from Wretch, and have been researching and watching many wonderful photographers on the web, but it is still a slow go.  And John was my ultimate test.

Here are some of the photos I kept:

You can see I had enlisted help.  Gramps is John's favorite person.  When he sees Gramps come into a room, he speed crawls to him.  So I shamelessly got Gramps to play the clown (you would NOT want to see photos of the faces he makes at John to get him to smile) and it helped tremendously.

These next two photos were shot with the sports setting, and you can see how fast a baby's expression can change in a matter of two seconds.

Then I changed to a monochrome setting and got a few good shots of John.

You will notice he is chewing on just about anything...I tried to get as many shots as I could when he wasn't chewing on something, but soon gave up.  He just got his first tooth, and chewing is his life right now.

I photo edited three of my favorite shots of John and printed and framed them and gave them to Tara.  I had a great morning with John, but learned two things that morning:

1.  Crawling around on the floor after a baby is hard work when you are middle aged with worn out knees.
2.  You couldn't pay me enough money to be a baby photographer.  I photograph mine out of love, and that it the ONLY thing that could drive me to do it.

Post script: as promised I am sharing other blogs of interest to me, and I encourage you to give them a look.  There are so many great bloggers out there!  

This is one photography blog I follow: