Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Flu Hits Hard

We are plagued by a nasty flu here. In fact it's so bad that it's made the front page of our newspaper today. Poor little Chloe has been sick for two days now, but still as sweet as can be.
That's probably why the "Get Well Fairy" left a special delivery for her today.
These yummy chocolate cupcakes were at the front door and her special card was left at the fairy door in the breakfast room (obviously the cupcakes wouldn't fit thru the little fairy door).
As you can see by the chocolate ring around her mouth she enjoyed every last bite! It's been a long two days. I was more than content to kick back in G's recliner in my comfy jammies to relax for the evening.
I made a huge pot of soup and stocked up on the basic groceries today in preparation for the snowstorm we are supposed to have coming. The weather forecasters predict that we could have up to 12 inches of snow! We haven't seen anything like that for years around here.
I hope they are only halfway right.
Will update you on this tomorrow.


My little 10 pound pooch. He thinks he is the king of this castle and let's you know it.
He's recently gone blind so is really become dependent on everyone here.
He is so spoiled rotten, doesn't like any outsiders in our domain, but is fiercely loyal and protective of us. Despite all of his cantankerous ways, we love him dearly.
But I do always have to tell him,
"Never bite the hand that feeds you"
especially when I share my m&m's with him.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Gathering the goods

I love Valentine's day.
I enjoy showing those I love that I care with a little token.
Sometimes I make cookies. Sometimes I buy a gift I think they'll like. Sometimes it's candy.
But no matter what the gift is I think it's important to let people know you care about them.
This year I am making projects. I don't know how well they will turn out, but I am in the mood to make something for everyone. Made my plans and went out to gather the goods for it today.
First stop, my very favorite artsy store, The Red Lead. Sharon and Chris, the owners, are two of the most talented ladies in this area. They never fail to have the most awesome displays in their store and it's totally an inspirational journey walking through there (as you can see from the photo below - this is some of what I bought there today). Sharon was busy packaging up orders to send out all over the place from their newly opened web store. Wish I didn't have to work tomorrow so I could get started, but it will keep a couple more days. Then there is Chloe's stuff for her handmade Valentine's day cards for her classmates. I told her I would help her make them special this year instead of buying the $1.99 boxed versions. After all is said and done these babies cost approximately $4.36 each! Oh, well. It will be worth the creative time we spend together. I've been trying to think of something for Peyton to make his cards with too. Must find some bug stamps.
One of the top 25 Things I Love (album in the works) is a fresh manicure. Got one today. Too cold outside to be wearing flip flops for a pedi, maybe next week.
I would like to leave here today with this dedicated to a friend, Jackie, who was a very special lady and turned many houses into lovely homes with her talents as an interior decorator.
She inspired many with her artistic flair and was also very generous and thoughtful.
You will be missed, Jackie.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

An Apple a Day

My girlfriend, Lisa - master pie maker, dropped this off for me yesterday. She knew I was sick this week and decided that she would give me a week's worth of apples to get back on my feet. Isn't this too beautiful to eat?
BUT - you should have tasted it! D E L I C I O U S ! is all I can say! Last night after a late night pity-party (see yesterday's post and you'll understand why I felt the need to throw myself this little party) and eating a healthy portion of "apples" I decided that Sunday would be PAMday. I got up, showered and dressed, grabbed my camera, cash, cell phone and took off. I headed to Main Street by the river where I always feel better and without fail can find something interesting to shoot. I'm sitting on the curb and up walks my very dear friend, Nancy. Photography or cocktails? Hmmmm? Trailhead it was. A couple of cocktails later I was feeling much better when we parted. She's a get-well shot in the arm. Love grabbing little bits of time with her, even though they are way too few and far between.
So, this is my shot of the day from Main street. I made it look dreamy because that's how I was feeling at the time.

Back on the highway I was thinking about my cousin and wondering if she had decided about going to see Celtic Women at the Fox Theatre. When I called her she was just walking out the door to meet Kathleen, our other cousin. I let her go, feeling a bit left out that I wasn't invited to come along. Before I could finish that thought my phone rang. It was them. They wanted me to come out and play! I was so happy when I pulled up and saw them waiting for me in Uncle Bill's big, shiny Lincoln. YES! A road trip in luxury! I didn't even mind that I (once again) had the back seat and knew I would be in a wind tunnel like it was when we'd bum in the old country squire station wagon when we were teenagers. I was so happy to be with them.

We went out to Winfield to look at a house and some property that Kathleen would like to purchase. It felt like it was hers as soon as we pulled up the long drive under this HUGE tree (must be at least 200 years old!). I'm keeping my fingers crossed for her that she gets it because I think it's been sitting there waiting for her to come along.

It's starting to get late. She doesn't want to see any other properties and Deb knows of a good restaurant in the little town. Naturally we had to stop. Pizza, buffalo wings, spaghetti - Mmmmm! It was good! Across the street was this charming row of little shops (all closed by then) but when I spotted the "Second Tyme Around" antique shop I couldn't resist the play on words I would have with this photo of the 2 of them in the foreground. I love these cousins of mine!

This is Kathleen telling Deb to get out of the car and ask for directions just as this train was coming by. Poor Deb is probably still partially deaf as the train whistle started blowing.
And here is one last share for tonight. Found this on mom's camera from yesterday.

I love the emotion in this photo of my sister and her oldest son. It makes me happy just to look at it. There is just something about a boy and his mamma. It doesn't last much past high school and college and that's what I was thinking tonight when I saw this. They are gone from you so fast - it seems like the blink of an eye.
So here is what I learned on PAMday, my day of meditation, peace, friendship, a little alcohol, cousins, and pizza (and K also told me so): It is much better to just GO with the FLOW and do your own thing than to try and MA-NIP-U-LATE v.[to manage or influence skillfully] a fun, family evening.


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Ten tens

I thought the top ten deserved their own special post.
Eric (the best) is second from left.
I wonder what was in those little totes they were given?
I'll ask gossip girl. I bet she'll know.

Eric's big night

Tonight was all about Eric.
He was one of the top ten finalist in his senior class chosen to compete in their
Mr. Irresistable competition.
We all piled in big bertha and made the hour long drive to support and cheer him on.
We are so proud of Eric and we love him very much.
He didn't win the title, but as I told Chloe - ALL of the finalist were winners!
They all had great personalities (Eric's was the best)
They all had a talent (Eric's was the best)
They all oozed California Surfer Dude in their swim wear (Eric's was the best)
They all looked dashing in their rented tuxedo's (Eric was most dashing).
(Who were those judges anyway?)
But really, all ten really were awesome 18 year olds.
Head together. Goals established. Polished. Outgoing. Humble (well, maybe 7 of them had the humility part down.)
So here we are in the OTHS theatre hall for our boy, Eric.
First we have the lovely Abby and Chloe (is Joey having booger issues back there?)
Tommy (Eric's biggest supporter), Peyton, and Joey.
The Matriarch (who nags us until we get where we are going ON TIME) and frets over the way to go even though she never drives to these events, is always the Queen Passenger. Sitting next to her is the mamma of Eric (the one who doesn't have to deal with driving an hour with all these people and just laughs at me while pulling off in her red convertible).
and Gossip Girl. She always has to know everything about everyone even if she doesn't know them. Then delights in sharing this information with anyone who will listen. Her audience is getting younger and younger. (When she was a little girl she was know in our family hub as "the town cryer". Every sentence started with "Guess what?")
Finally - couldn't get these all on this post, but will put on Flickr later. Here's a small collage of the evening.
So proud of Eric. Words can't even beging to express it and I am not going to try.
Afterall, he's going to be a journalism major and he would probably cringe at the adjectives I would string together. Sorry pal. Auntie is getting old and tired, but still absolutely adores you!

Had a great time!

The trip home........I'm afraid if I log it here my blogger account will be shut down. Suffice it to say that Abby, Peyton and Chloe were the only ones I told goodnight.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Mission (organization) accomplished

It's not really super-organized, but it sure feels better to have some elbow room.
When I was sitting here cleaning things up, I was getting a bin out from underneath the desk and I found this little paper "P" taped to the inside front panel. As soon as I saw that, memories flooded back of Peyton sitting under my desk, playing with paper, crayons, tape, and legos when I would sit down to work. He would have pillows, stuffed animals, lincoln logs, snacks - all kinds of things to keep him busy. We called it Peyton's Place and I remember when he called me to look down and see the "P" that he taped there to stake his claim. Wish I had taken the time to take a photo of him then. That's why I like doing this photo a day thing. It makes me take a photo of everyday stuff. Like my pigstye of a desk yesterday. You wouldn't believe the stuff in my "in basket". What makes me keep things I'll never know.
There. Doesn't this look better?
To my utter delight I unearthed my PEN P.A.L. ! She is the little lady who keeps my sharpies and highlighters ready for me. No more labeling cd's with a crayon (which doesn't work so don't try it).
That's all.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

This is what I sat down to a little while ago. I sat for a while, checked my email, ordered some stuff and then decided that I cannot stand this clutter any longer. This is the loft area outside my bedroom. Nobody really sees it unless they are going to my bedroom, so I always leave it for last to clean. Haven't touched it since Christmas and it is out of control. Of course I know where everything is - it's just moving the stacks around to get to it that is bugging me. My "in-basket" is definitely over flowing.
And this project needs to be finished.
Then I walked into my bedroom, trying to decide if I liked the newly installed wooden blinds.
I sat on my bed to look at them some more.
From here, I couldn't see my desk.
I like the view from here much better.

As one of my favorite characters always said, "Tomorrow is another day."

I think I'll clean my desk tomorrow.

In the meantime, here's what else went on around here today......a little e-tail therapy.

It's FREEZING here! It must be cold for me to be admitting to that.
I think a little bit of hot chocolate is just what I need, and can you think of anything
cuter than this to warm you up????? If you'd like one of your own you can order it here.

And while you're there you might just find something else for your sweet tooth!
Dylan Lauren, entrepreneur and daughter of Ralph Lauren (my very fave clothing designer), was on Ooopraah yesterday - my sick day - and she is the most delightful young woman.
She followed her childhood dream and opened herself this big old candy store - definitely on my list of places to visit when I get to New York.
I immediately thought of my cousin's little girl, Libby, who will be 7 next month. Every time I see her she whispers to me, "Do you have any candy?". Of course I do. I always do and she knows it so I sneak a little to her and always send her home with a stash in her pockets. Last time they were here I gave Chloe, Libby, and Sam (her big sis) the fixings to make some candy topped pretzels. Libby ate half the chocolate before it made it to the pretzels. LOL! I can't wait to see her face when I present her with her very own candy bin and tote bag on her birthday.

Here is Libby, the candy connoisseur, on the left with her sister Sam at Joe & Abby's wedding last August. I think she has chocolate on her mouth in this photo. Abby's mom had personalized chocolate bars made up for the wedding reception and Libby spotted those right away. Sent her home with a couple extra.
Aren't they the cutest little girls? I love to photograph them. They have the greatest personalities and are so much fun to be around.
That's all for today. Gonna shut up now.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sick day

Some lousy germ got ahold of me and won.
I stayed in bed, mostly sleeping, until 1:30 this afternoon, went downstairs to make myself a cup of hot tea, then took a nap in my big chair for another hour. I have been in my cozy pj's and warm, red robe all day.
Now I cannot get to sleep.
Why did they have to take the good stuff out of Nyquil?
So I set up my shot for the day, since it was before midnight when I took this it will count.
This is all the ink I have used since Thanksgiving in my Epson photostylus printer.
I love the printer - great quality - but HOLY COW! that's a LOT of ink! And the sad thing is that I have to argue with the recycling place to take these cartridges. They said they don't recycle Epson cartridges anymore. If I get a kid behind the counter, they will take them. What's up with that? Anyway, you can see I was on medication today and had nothing better to do than think about this. But I do feel better.
Today would have been my dear father-in-law's 80th birthday. He's been gone 19 years this past December but we still miss him very much. Glen always says he'd give anything to play a round of golf with his dad. He was able to enjoy 4 of his 10 grandchildren before he passed away and did get to meet the fifth one as a newborn. I thought it would be nice to post this couple year old photo of all his grandchildren, his legacy, in his honor today. He would have been so proud of these kids. And of course, they all drive Fords! He used to say to the little ones, "Smile if you love Grandpa!" Well, here they are. All smiling and a real tribute to a wonderful man.
until next time.....

Monday, January 21, 2008

Portrait of a Photographer

I was asked by a photographer friend of mine to take his portrait for a gallery show he has. He didn't want anything traditional (guess that's why he thought of me - I am so NOT traditional).
Anyway, he's the photographer I had do both Lindsay and Joe's weddings and you know what a fabulous job he did.
I felt the pressure for this. Here are a couple that we shot today.
First one here is with an old 4 x 5 camera that he actually used. This guy has every lens, flash, camera, and gadget that you could hope for, so I also wanted to get something showing that side of him. When he pulled out this old camera I knew we had to get a shot with this also. This is just a sampling of what he had in a couple of his several cases of equipment. And I would just like to add that he can print straight from his card. No photoshop touch ups for him. Isn't that impressive?
Now here's where I stepped in. I wanted him in front of an old door with a single camera and a simple camera bag over his shoulder. Of course, he knew where the coolest background was. I'm posting this one here that I tweeked with an action from Barb Uli's IttyBittyActions, called Urban Intensity. I love how it looks. He might like it straight from the camera. We'll see.
Those are his lovely and charming daughters with him. They are so much fun. He turned the camera on me for a couple of shots. It was freezing out today and we were a rock's throw away from the river. The wind cut right through you!
This one is for my nephew, T. He calls me an "old hippie" because I know how to fix his macrame necklace. Peace out, T.
I've had a scratchy throat all day and I guess being down by the river wasn't very smart. I can feel the fever/aches/swollen glands coming on. Better take some drugs and get under the covers.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sweet smell of babies

Today I woke up, packed my camera gear and headed out for the best morning........shooting two adorable babies!
First stop, little Miss H. A six month old bundle of smiles, joy, and motion! She did nothing but laugh and pose for the camera - but put her down and she was a blur.....crawling so fast I couldn't keep up. LOL! Such a happy, beautiful baby.
This is one of my many favorite shots of her, with her bright eyes shining and just a glimpse of her proud daddy smiling behind her. Just loved being with her and her family. Next stop, sweet baby N. He's just 3 months old and such a cuddler! I didn't want to put him down to take his picture - he just snuggled in my arms and, oh my, that sweet baby smell! He reminds me so much of Peyton when he was a baby, so very sweet and all filled out. He wasn't much up to having his picture taken today because he was so sleepy, but we got in a few good shots. Went away with that scent still on my shirt and it made me smile when I got in the car. How lucky I was to be able to be with these two adorable babies today! I swear I wanted to bring them both home with me!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Saturday Night LIVE

I can't believe how fast the week flew by. Here it is Saturday night already, but wait a minute, that means I'll have my little pals to keep me entertained! After working all day I met Linz, Abby, mom & Chloe to go see the new movie "27 Dresses". It was a real cute movie, had one part that I about died laughing at but mostly it was nice to go out with my girls. Glen took Amy to a concert to see some guitar player they both like, and Joey was home playing a new PS2 game that he conned me into buying for him yesterday. After the movie we went to pick up Peyton and then tried to go out to eat. After 2 attempts at restaurants with over an hour wait, we ended up at Denny's - home of the Grand Slam. Not really your high class restaurant, but we were seated immediately in a back corner. Comfy.
While we were waiting for our food Peyton wanted to blow his straw paper at me. I played along. Then we started this game where they tried to blow the straw papers through the hoops of my earrings. We were laughing, Lindsay didn't see the humor in it and announced at that time that she had signed me up for a grandparenting class for new Baby Bozo. I was highly insulted and both of my little buddies came to my defense immediately. Hey, they are SMART kids! So I decided to ignore Lindsay's comment - let her find anyone who can teach ME how to be a grandma. Hmph!
After dinner we took Lindsay home so the fun could begin. (hey - she hurt my feelings, even if she was only kidding). Got this game "Brain Age" for their ds's out and challenged their minds for a while. I had to tell Peyton to stop looking so serious! He was really intense and didn't want Chloe to get more right answers than he did. Finally got this half smile out of him. Isn't he getting old looking? He's going to be in FOURTH GRADE in a few months! When did that little guy grow up so fast?
Of course he wanted to take some shots after I had the camera out with a new lens on it. He was telling me how to turn my earrings so he could take a picture of "earring spitball". Did I mention that the smallest hoop earned them 100 points?
Then he told ME to quit looking so serious!
Chloe took this. She shares her Grandma's love of red.
Time for a movie and some m&m's.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Glen & Pam's Day Off

Have you ever seen THREE eagles sitting in a tree? What a beautiful site this was!
We played hookey today and went on a field trip. I've been wanting to go see and photograph an eagle so we headed north to Clarksville. We arrived about 1pm (not an ideal time to shoot, but it was a cold, grey day with the threat of snow looming in the forecast) and walked up to the very cold, windy viewing deck by the lock and dam. We were the only crazy ones out there and within minutes my fingertips were frozen. I was about to give up and go to the car when Glen spotted an eagle flying from behind us out over the river.

How beautiful it was, soaring through the air! I watched through my lens, waiting for a good shot when all of a sudden Glen is pointing in another direction. There were two more coming in! In must have been lunchtime! All in all we counted 15 eagles after they went back to their perches in the trees along the bluffs. Here are a couple of my favorite shots from today.

Doesn't he look regal sitting here? I took this with a 200mm lens from the road at the bottom of the bluff. I wish there was more detail. They look like they wrap those enormous wings around them like a wool coat while perched. They are huge! Again, I took this with a 200mm lens.
And thanks to my wingman, "Turn around, this one's posing for you" I got the shots and had a lovely day.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Just for me

I NEED to go here so I can find some "stuff". Little stuff. Stuff for some projects I'm working on.
Doing this collection of winter projects put together by the super creatively talented Teresa McFayden. I first met Teresa in 2001 (I think) and I was in awe of her artistic talents. I can't wait to jump into these awesome projects over the next couple of months.

After working on the JYC I decided that it was in my best interest (and for my healthy state of mind) to play a little each day after putting in a full day of working and taking care of other people. Not that I mind doing all that, it's just that I need that little time to myself to relax and have an outlet. It's like icing on the cupcake!

No photo taken today. Shame on me. I just honestly couldn't fit it in. But if I HAD taken a photo it would have been something that would have made my husband smile. He is not up to snuff on all the technology that we have at our fingertips. It's not that he couldn't do it if he tried, he just choses not to. I mean, giving him a new cell phone was risky, but he's got it pretty much mastered now. We made sure he knew where the volume control was and Lindsay downloaded his phonebook from the old model (which was so abused that it's a miracle that he was able to even communicate with it.) Anyway - he is always complaining that people could get things done a lot faster if they didn't have to "look it up on the computer first" and he hates it when someone says they will send him an email. "Just call me for crying out loud," is his answer to that one. So imagine what went through my mind when I went for a meeting at our city's recreational center today and while walking down the hall I saw two maintenance men with a laptop on their tool cart trying to figure out where the sprinkler lines ran so they could put in some recessed lighting. LOL! All I could think was that I wished I'd had my camera and been able to take a shot of that one to share with Glen. Of course, I don't know how I would have gotten the shot without making those poor guys think I was making fun of them. They were scratching their heads as it was.

So there's my missing photo of the day. I think Jim S. will get a kick out of that one too.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Today's thoughts

But first, a look at my photo of the day.
This is my little pal heading out to catch the school bus.
She insists on wearing a dress at least twice a week, even though she can't wait to get home to peel off those tights. I was trying to catch a photo of her because she looked so cute in her new coat from Grandpa, but turned out that this was my she was running out the door. So, here's what I've been thinking today.
I've been worried about something for a while now and it turns out that my worries were unfounded. I'm glad about that
it didn't set me at ease.
Something still seemed off.
I was talking to daughter #1 about this tonight on the phone and she quite simply explained it.
She said, "Mom, you just don't have intuition for normal."
I think she is right!
My life and that of my family would make most sitcoms take a back seat.
If something out of the ordinary is going to happen, it happens to us.
Therefore, I think she might be right.
My intuition is tuned in to the abnormal.
I feel much better now.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Shot of the Day

This is my shot of the day for January 13th. I was fasinated to learn that Converse actually has directions on their website for lacing the seven-foot long shoestring through the maze of eyelets!
Thanks for the pose, Alison. Here is the real shot I'm using for the Shootsac. I was asked to write a "testimonial" for their website blog as to why I bought two of them. This was one of them.......a gift to my photographer friend whom I coerced into coming out of wedding photography retirement to shoot my daughter's wedding last year (a two day job), and again this year for my son (in 100 degree temperature).

Sunday at Framations Gallery

I met up with the Rose family going to the juried show, Beyond the Lens II: A Photography Exhibit at Framations this afternoon. I just love walking around old St. Charles Main street with my camera. You never know what you will find to shoot. I am never disappointed. Here is the owner, Sarah, and host of today's reception. Don't you just love the background of all their framing samples? It reminds me of a wooden quilt of colors and textures. BTW, Sarah is a wonderful fabric artist and has some beautiful pieces hanging in her gallery, including an awesome self-portrait done on fabric.
Here is the man of the hour. Garry received TWO Honorable Mention Blue Ribbons for his work today. You can see a little piece of Vivian's work in the background with the red 2nd place ribbon hanging on the top corner.
While Garry is trying to get the right angle and set his flash, I got the shot you saw above. See, I told you that I do not like to use a flash! LOL! We went to Picaso's for a cuppa latte' after the show. This was a staged shot for the ShootSac. I liked the whole setting and the relaxed look of the Rose women, even though it was a blistery 31 degrees! Cindy, you're a champ!
Until next time.......