Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tableau Tuesday - 9/29/2009

Yesterday I took several photos of myself sitting in my backyard for a bio on Soaring Through the World in Pictures. You see, as a photographer I have very few photos of myself, and none that are recent and also flattering. So I did what any self respecting person would, set up my tripod, grabbed my remote, sat down and shot away. Most of them were unflattering, some were ok, and I ended up realizing that even though I've lost 17 pounds, I still look fat on camera (no lie there - I still am fat). And so, I photoshopped a few more pounds off of myself - not enough so that you wouldn't recognize me, but at least I'm happier with the end result - and here, I'll even show you the before and after, and you can see for yourself.
Before - not bad, not great, see the remote?

From J9 and stuff
After - Cropped and lighting adjusted

From J9 and stuff
The next one up is with my fur butt cat, who cannot resist a sunny lap See the really unflattering shadows and my arm? MY GOD! that is THE worst view for my arm.

From J9 and stuff
And once I adjusted lighting and contrast, and cropped the fat arm out - still not happy with my hair, but a bit better. Really more a photo of the cat:

From J9 and stuff
And the one eventually used. Before - Wow, fat neck, fat arms, but I liked my smile.

From J9 and stuff
And after adjusting lighting, contrast, cropping, and taking my arm in a tad and my neck in on both sides:

From Soaring Through The World In Pictures

Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday Morning Music

OK, so this has been on my mind:

In looking for a decent vid of this song, I found this version, which made me smile!

And the version I was looking for:

And yet another I went looking for:

A Blues Monday, which I think is fitting!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Evening Weekend Wrap Up

Friday was pretty much the last of the field trip shirts, just a few stragglers left. After school, one of The Youngest's friends came over to play for a few hours and they had fun with all of the toy weapons and legos. I think the oldest is over the newness of the braces and we broke out the wax this morning. He's still convinced he can only eat liquids, despite enjoying a brownie and banana bread at school :-) The boys watched Meet The Robinsons on the big TV for a treat, and the temps finally got below 95 after the sun went down! The neighbor came over and was at the house until nearly 9:00, when MDH came home from soccer.
Saturday, freecycle brought a youth guitar to the house, and we had one of The Boys' friend's Birthday Party. At NOON. in 109 degree heat. Dry heat. At least it was at a park that has a water play area, and they all cooled off. Of course the heat, and the seeming lack of food got The Oldest in a "poor me" frame of mind, and he had 3 meltdowns. At nearly 9 years of age. I think it had more to do with the heat and Friday night's late night than anything else. We came home and had a nice quiet 30 minutes, before the neighbor came over. The Youngest and he had a skirmish that involved spitting, so I sent him home. The Oldest broke out the hose for cooling off out back. MDH came home from a study session at the library and took a nap. When he got up, he ran a few errands for me, and I sat down to play a little Bejeweled. Soon I was hearing an unusual rustling on the shelves behind me, but in the darkened room, I couldn't really see what it was. That is until it fluttered around a bit. Evidently my fur butt cat brought a Blue Jay into the house while we were gone, and it sat on the top shelf through the kids playing, and only when alone with me decided to make itself known. I opened the window and shut the door, but it kept running into the not opened part of the window, so I had to throw a towel over it, and get it out the window myself. The Boys wanted to know if it was dead, because when I did release it, it just lay there. I waved the towel at it, and it flew away. We had a mish mash dinner - cereal for The Youngest, blended spaghetti for The Oldest, leftover pork roast for My Dear Husband, and I had a few croutons - it was still 98 at 8:00 at night, and I was boiling noodles...
Sunday was laundry day, and The Oldest mopped the front room and the kitchen (nice)! I cleaned out the bottom shelf of The Boys' closet, as well as my half of our closet. Got together a couple bags of clothes - some that The Youngest has outgrown, and some that are TOO BIG for me now!!!!!! Although I did have a pity party moment when I realized that My Sis' fat clothes are my goal... We can't all be stick thin, but we can at least all be healthy! We had another kid friend's birthday party at Build-a-Bear Workshop, which was VERY generous of the hosting family. Each Boy got a stuffed animal (Bunny and Grey Wolf), and accessories (A Dracula Costume, Camo Outfit, Camo Tent, Baby Grey Wolf, Rain Boots, Sunglasses, and Roller Skates). Toward the end of BABW, The Youngest pulled me aside to tell me that he loves me and thanked me for all that I do for him. It was such a sweet and tender moment that I almost started crying! Then it was off to Boudin Bakery for pizza and cake and I had a delicious salad! I took the long way home to give The Boys a chance for a short nap. It was while driving, that I had a flashback to out accident last summer. It happens, not frequently, but just the weight of responsibility, and the fact that we all made it out is a miracle, and I am grateful for that, even when circumstances seem difficult, or obstacles seem insurmountable, I am grateful that I live each day. I know we are being watched over, that I lead a charmed life, and for that I am also grateful. Once home, it was mere moments before the neighbors were over and they were all playing until dinner. Dinner was chicken, asparagus and summer squash, and The Oldest even managed 3 pieces of chicken that were no bigger than an eighth of an inch, cubed. He has a mouth full of sores, so I broke out the oragel, and I think he'll be better off in the morning (at least that's my hope).

Friday, September 25, 2009

My Town Shoot Out - My Favorite Place to_______

This week's shoot out theme is courtesy of Cindy of ...Just Alaska. I encourage you to go and see everyone's contributions here!
I have lots of places around my town that are favorites for various reasons.
My favorite place to think is my own backyard:

My favorite place to eat is Casa Orozco, a really good and authentic Mexican Restaurant, though that may be due to my recent craving for good, cheese laddened food:

My favortie place take The Boys for a relaxing afternoon is Kolb Park:

My favorite place to dream of is Key West, Florida. It has been a number of years since my last visit, and I long for the humidity, the smell of the air, the slow pace, and the food, OMG the food! Oh, and it is a terrific place to shop and people watch.

My favorite place to be is with my family and friends, and doesn't have to be in my town, though most of the time it is. Happy Weekend all!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

An Angel

I have no clue how she found me or my blog, but Pamela Waterman did find me, and gave me some very helpful suggestions for my newly braced boy. She is an adult braces survivor, and has authored 2 cookbooks for braces friendly eating, as well as maintains a blog for brace wearers. Her resources are awesome, and I'm feeling better about this phase in our lives.
Just when I needed her, but didn't know I needed her, and now this song is going through my head:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tableau Tuesday and other tooth related stuff

Today The Oldest got braces and a palate spreader (collective ouch), and The Youngest in a fit of feeling left out pulled another baby tooth out of his head. It was already loose, and should have come out last week, so it' didn't really bleed, and now they can both enjoy their milkshakes.

From J9 and stuff

I had to send the orthodontic office manager an e-mail when we got home because; well I'll let the e-mail text speak for itself:
                    Because I wasn't paying near enough attention to The Oldest's ACTUAL teeth
                    choosing instead to focus on HOW to operate the palate spreader, I
                    failed to notice that he has brackets on nearly every upper tooth.
                    Last week, my understanding was that he would have 4-6 teeth with
                    brackets (2-4 in the front, and the 2 in the back for the spreader).
                    Please reply with why he has so many brackets after today's
                   appointment, so that I can explain to my husband that I actually do
                   pay attention to our children and their heath...
I have to wonder how this will go over, because they don't really know my personality yet. Last week when I came home and told MDH about the braces and spreader, I was assured that I had not asked enough or the right questions (having been unable to acertain exactly what MDH would want to know). So he went the following day, had his questions answered (but didn't share those questions or answers with me), and today was braces day. I honestly have no clue why the kid has a mouth full of metal, but I was extremely relieved that he had a positive experience which I think is partially due to the Motrin I made him take when I picked him up from school. So now I know how to tighten the screws on his spreader (reminiscent of the inquisition if you ask me). And I need to start thinking like MDH when it comes to orthodontics. I'll give MDH the benefit of the doubt. I do not ask that many questions of the orthodontist. I wonder if it has to do with my own level of discomfort with orthodontics, and my experiences as a child with neck gear, braces (twice) and retainers. Maybe I'll just have MDH take The Oldest to all of his appointments. I wrote the above yesterday, and today I'm not as frustrated at all. The office manager wrote back:
                     You are so funny. Tell your husband you do pay attention and I will support 
                     that. Dr.J just added addtional brackets. Please let your husband know that 
                     he can call Dr.J at anytime with questions. We never mind.
                      Have a great day
Clearly these folks get my humor which makes me feel all sorts of better!
Oh, and Monday's shopping trip? Netted me 2 pairs of shorts and a pair of jeans, all in the next smaller size!!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

Friday was another day in the boys classroom for art, still working on field trip shirts. At least it was 2nd & 3rd graders, so they know more and are more independednt workers. The shirts are coming along and look awesome! I did a Happy Hour playdate with margaritas, and the boys spent their evening watching Nightmare Before Christmas and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, both of which arrived from Netflix during the week.

Saturday was my first two shifts at the snack bar, from 8:00 to noon. I have the Noon to 4:00 shifts in a couple of weeks, but by noon I felt dead on my feet! I came home, made lunch for the boys, sat down for a bit, and soon it was time for a soccer game. At least it wasn't the predicted 100+ temperatures.! We took the dog with us, and he enjoyed hanging out and smelling a new place and all the people and other dogs. Came back from the game and had a few minutes before the neighbors came over to play. Then I spent the next hour filling water baloons the MDH bought for the boys. Dinner was breakfast, because I was too tired to cook anything complicated or even go to buy something. We read a bit from Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, and I was ready to hit the hay, but it was only 7:30!

I got to sleep in on Sunday, but once up, I was at it like a dervish! I washed my car, made a shopping list, grocery shopped, put it all away, washed, dried, folded and put away all of the laundry, made the boys lunch and snacks, and refereed a scirmish with the neighbor. MDH made breakfast and did dishes, watched the Raider game, talked to a friend on the phone, took a nap and went to my folks house to fix an outdoor sprinkler issue. Watched the Emmy's at night, and just took it easy.

This morning I attended the funeral mass for the mother of a friend. The church was beautiful, and I'm glad I went. Was going to log it and work the rest of the day but decided to enjoy my day off and go shopping instead. I need new shorts, and so does The Oldest.

Friday, September 18, 2009

My Town Shoot Out - Domestic Animals

On my way to posting this week, I had to do a double take and make sure we weren't talking about animals that are considered Domestic Help. I was having quite the time convincing the cat to dust, though the dog was happy to mop the floor..
This week, Sandy of Flying WG suggested the topic "Domestic Animals". I encourage you to go and see everyone's contributions here!

The first few here are from a series I'm shooting on neighborhood cats. All taken on my early morning walks through the neighborhoods of my town.

This is my adorable, mouse and bird hunting, but squirrel ignoring fur butt cat:

And for the dog lovers out there, this is my gentle, loving, old man dog:

Happy Weekend all!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

This actually gave me chills

OK, call me a geek. I was in the middle of writing a Wicked Wednesday post and have 2 different evenings in mind, only I couldn't come up with a clever opening for one, or a good take on events for the other when this crossed my attention span:


Yes, I got chills. Yes I am hoping to somehow, magically be transported to Orlando to witness the magic. Yes, I have asked the universe to allow this to happen.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tableau Tuesday 9/15/09

First a couple of pictures of The Boys and their weekend sparring in the back yard:
And the Lightning and Thunder storm we awoke to on Saturday:
This is my one and only shot of the lightning:
Edited so that you can actually see the Lightning:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday Evening Weekend Wrap Up

Another busy-ish weekend, with some fun thrown in for good measure.
Friday was my first day of this year volunteering in the boy's class for art, and we always start the year with field trip shirts. For the 2 previous years we used sun reactive dyes, which are really very cool. If you've never even heard of them, go here and check them out! This summer I agonized over different idaes, and ran them by the other art moms (yes, this year there are 3 - totally AWESOME). One of the other art moms had a bunch of ideas, and the one that sounded the coolest was tying pennies into the shirts, then using spray bottles to paint with watered down fabric paint. I suggested we keep the kids to either warm or cool colors, and one of the teachers had us painting with watercolors ahead of time to understand warm vs. cool colors. Friday we had Kindy's and Firsts, and the shirts look great! I was exhausted! This Friday will be 2nd and 3rds which should be a bit easier. And the following week will be just a catch all for the ones that missed the first 2 weeks.
Saturday, we awoke to the dog pacing the house in abject terror over the lightning and thunder storm which started at 2am and didn't stop until after daybreak - I even got off one semi decent shot of the lightning - you'll see that tomorrow. Then, all 4 of us spent the day cleaning the house top to bottom, and everything in between. The Boys got all of their toys put away in their room, and the office/playroom. MDH cleared all of his paperwork from the kitchen table, living room, our room, and the kitchen counter. He also folded an put away his laundry and swept and vaccumed. I managed to mop, (The Oldest dusted) clean the bathrooms, clear the paperwork from our dresser and the 2 desks I occupy, and the rest of the laundry, and change linens all around. The Youngest had a soccer game at 3, which was cancelled due to the minute amount of rain in the morning. All of the cleaning was in preparation for having 2 couples over for appetizers before an 8pm dinner reservation at Simply Fondue. MDH has been friends with the men since Elementary and Junior High School, and one of the wives also went to High School with us. It was a really fun evening getting to know one another, and the food was incredible! If you've ever been to a nice (and expensive) fondue restaurant, you know what I mean. The waitress was a bit off kilter, and funny. She asked how we all knew each other and when I replied that was an interesting question, she said, "Oh, Swingers." We all started laughing hysterically, because it was completely out of the blue, and I'm still not sure whether to take it as an insult or a compliment! Of course it may have been that we were in a private room, or the proximity to the local porn shop, but still... The conversation was good, the people are really nice and fun, and the food was delicious. We didn't get home until after midnight, and The Boys were sleeping over at Oma's.
Sunday I had a slight food hangover - not having eaten rich foods in quite a while. I also was not really hungry all day. The Youngest had soccer pictures, and because all of the cleaning and laundry was already done, it was a nice relaxing day. MDH had a soccer game at night, and The Boys had baths and read. The lack of sleep from Saturday didn't catch up to me until Sunday night and this morning, when I had a hell of a time getting out of bed and getting to work!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Town Shoot Out - Aged and Weathered

This week, Pauline of The Paddock suggested the topic "Aged and Weathered". I encourage you to go and see everyone's contributions here!
I'm digging into the archives for this week. This cross is in the Dublin Cemetery, and I really love the rust, and the design.
This Is an Elephant at the Oakland Zoo. doesn't get much more weathered than that!
Have a good weekend all!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Monday Evening Weekend Wrap Up and a bit of Tableau Tuesday

These are the boys on the first day of school: 
And my AWESOME lunch from my garden:
OK, now for the LONG weekend report. The boys had Friday and Monday off, so they got a 4 day weekend. I didn't get to Friday's Shoot out because there was a proliferation of activity here. The Boys had a couple of friends over, and they had lunch and hung out while their mom and I worked on a new Blog for their school. She ran errands while the kids played, and I worked. A client came by to pick up their wedding album, and ask that I shoot a portfolio of their daughter. I tried to work on my photo website, but am still locked out. The mom came back, and they all went home. The neighbors came over to play until dinner, and dinner was simple - Kielbasa, Peppers and Onions. Oh, and while the girls were here all the kids were writing and rehearsing a play when The Oldest ran in to say that the tree in the backyard was falling. I didn't believe him, but told them all if they heard a big crack to run as fast as they could. Sure enough about 10 minutes later, they all ran in panicked and screaming. I looked out the back door in time to witness the ancient oak split in two, and the half over our yard falling in slow motion. In the end it covered about half of the yard, and there was no way it could have been saved.
Saturday, our dear friends gave us tickets to the 144th annual Scottish Games. We were there all day and had fun wandering around to all of the vendors, watching the heavy games - even a perfect score on a caber toss. The Pipe bands were awesome, and the birds of prey were inspiring. The sheep dogs were really fun to watch, espeially the really angry sheep that turned on the dog! We met up with several friends and got to visit with people we do not see nearly often enough. I was also really good about food choices, not surprising since I'm vegetarian, and meat pies and fish and chips were the popular food stands with lines hours long. We stayed for the Caledonian Club dinner, and The Boys had such a blast, while MDH and I were exhausted!
Sunday was the day to cut down the tree. The neighbor on who's property the tree is growning helped MDH cut and haul 3 truck and trailer loads to the dumps for shredding into mulch. It took all day, and The Boys followed with rakes, getting up twigs and leaves. I spent the day running errands for tree cutting. Replacing the chain saw blade (twice), getting a new hitch pin for the trailer, and waiting to grocery shop, which I finally did get to. I also managed to fold and put away the laundry.
MDH cutting down the end of the tree:
A soon to be displaced ant - one of many:
Monday I needed a break. MDH's dad flew to town to pick up his RV, and we had a nice visit. I talked to my mom on the phone - also a nice visit. Although The Oldest chose that time of day to pull the first molar out of his mouth. There was alot of blood, making me a bit queasy. Mom said it was just karma getting back at me... Another client came by to finalize her book, and the neighbors came over to play. The Youngest had soccer practice, and I had a meeting for Halloween Fun Night. MDH made dinner while we were gone. Dishes done, and I sat down to start this post - and I finally completed it at 11:40...

Friday, September 4, 2009

I Had This already Written

Of course, that was at 5:30 this morning, while lying in bed, and because I fell back asleep at 6:00, I've forgotten most of what I was going to say. Rest assured, it was hilarious and pithy.

Why was I up at such an ungodly hour? Well, some neighborhood delinquent decided at 2:00 AM to race his/her mini bike up and down my street. As. Fast. As. Possible. Of course, because there was likely some sort of drug involved in that brilliant decision making process, one of the riders crashed into something down the street. I'm still not exactly sure what was crashed into, and there were no sirens, so probably their own house/trailer/truck. As the same, or maybe another rider raced up and down the street a few more times, I was thankful that my cat was sleeping (ok she was also awake at this point), on my feet. I turned to MDH and asked if he was awake - he was. Then my mind was awake and on its own journey, thinking about the things I've seen this week to make me smile, chuckle, or laugh out loud. And now I'm going to give those to you in the hope that you can have a smile or two.

I will get my 'My Town Shoot Out' up a bit later, because I have some folks coming over today, and I have the pics I want to use, but have to dig them out of the archives first.

First up, I may be really late to the party on this one, AND I don't have twitter (because no one gives a rat's ass what I'm doing at every moment of my day, and if they do, they are stalkers), but this has been making me laugh every day this week.

I found this at another blog, and was thinking how kind that they also included templates for shaving your hair down there.

This guy has been making me laugh with his take on office politics, and I've felt the same way more than once!

And finally, this was found by MDH, and passed along to me - warning, there are some images here that made me queasy, and some that actually made me laugh so hard, I thought I would pee!


Wednesday, September 2, 2009


This time of year is always a bit weird for me. As a kid I loved going back to school - I loved school in general, was a smart assed teacher's pet most of the time, led protests against teachers and the administration, and generally enjoyed myself, even though I felt like an outsider most of the time. At work, the summer and fall have no different feel at all. It's kind of anti-climactic. There really isn't anything to look forward to. Oh sure, vacation time is great, but when you have no plans to go anywhere, again, no high point there.

I've recently started a weight loss program, the aim being to stick around this earthly realm longer than if I were fat and unhealthy. Instead of sitting during The Boy's activities, I walk. I drink more water, and log everything I eat. I’ve cut back in small ways, and it has made a difference, hopefully to lower my Blood Pressure as well.

I've also taken on the responsibility to figure out a budget. MDH and I are particularly bad at this, but I figure, if I log everything we spend, we should be able to at least SEE where it all goes, and maybe in a couple of months be able to make some small changes that will also lower my blood pressure and stress level related to money.

Over the last three days, I picked at least 100 pounds of apples off of our tree, peeled, cored, and sliced them and made applesauce and 19 apple pie fillings which are now sitting in a freezer. I made one of the pies last night (really a galette) and the filling turned out quite yummy! I didn't measure, just did it all by eye and smell and taste, so I'm sure they will all be different, which is kind of exciting! AND I'm not feeling so wasteful, AND I may be able to trade some for other things from friends - kind of cool.

I've been working on a blog for The Boy's school and not really sure whether I can do what I want without making everyone authors for all of the blogs. Does anyone know, off hand if I can make one Blog the parent of others, so that I can send one invitation, and have those same people auto approve for the child blogs? I'll be searching Blogger news and buzz later, but if anyone has successfully done this, please let me know. The issue is that I want them all to be invitation only, as to preserve the privacy of the students.

Work is actually getting better, as a new person has offered to help with the things I hate to do - so I should be happier soon!