Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tableau Tuesday

A few photos from the week:

I liked how this looked through my sunglasses when I was shooting it, but preferred the unfiltered after...

The Boys washing my car:

Zoo Lights at night:

The Things We Do For Love

I photographed a wedding on Monday. This was as a gift for a man I have watched grow from a small boy into a Marine. He and his bride are headed on an adventurous life (both are active military). I wish for them all the happiness a life together can bring. I love weddings. For a period of time, I did not. That time may have passed with this wedding. This was the union of two young people who are ready to face life. Their hopes and dreams and aspirations are right in front of them, guiding their decisions. It was a beautiful wedding, a fun reception and I am happy to have been there. It is my gift to be able to shoot their wedding and I feel honored that they entrusted their day to me. I did get a bunch of really great pics, some of which will be up here next week.

While I was away all afternoon and evening (I am writing this at midnight), my folks watched and cared for The Boys. Corky worked, stopped by to care for The Dogs, and did dishes, brought me food, and straightened up a bit. I didn't even notice until I was on my way to bed, and I will thank her properly when she is awake later this morning. I did keep her posted about my comings and goings, especially that late at night on a notoriously treacherous road home. She is genuinely concerned for my welfare, and not in a creepy, controlling sort of way. She wants to know that I am ok, and calls just to hear my voice. I really missed seeing her all day and night, but we will ring in the New Year together :-)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Monday Morning Holiday Wrap Up

Get it, Holiday WRAP up? HAHAHAHAHA - Maybe I'm punchy from the egg nog, or still in a sugar coma from all the treats...

The Boys came home Christmas Eve, talking about all the awesome gifts they received at the ex's. I'm glad they enjoyed themselves. Corky was having such a rough time about the holidays, then to have The Boys kind of ignore her, and then talk non-stop about the ex. It was upsetting to her and she left angry. I cried for hours. I need to work on not letting other people's moods impact me that heavily...I didn't get to bed until 1:00 am, and The Youngest woke up at 2:00, but was able to go back to sleep until 3:30, and hold off on waking his brother and me until 5:30. I talked them into climbing into bed with me so I could sleep until 7:00. Once up, we opened presents, Corky came over and we opened the rest. We parted to get ready for the day. The Boys and I went to my folks' with Sis, her BF, ad the nephews. My Aunt was there for a bit as well and it was a nice and relaxing day. Left there and went to Corky's Sister's. That was fun, but The Boys and I were not our best, being as tired as we were. Stayed for dessert & coffee and then home and to bed.

Thursday and Friday (this is where things are running all together)
Recovering and eating crap all day. The Boys played with their new stuff and I had the worst cramps of my life and felt like I was going to pass out. Ended up sleeping for a majority of the day and had salad for dinner, hoping to stave off scurvy, and the extra holiday weight. Corky worked closing shift, but was over early to make sure I was ok and make lunch for The Boys while I slept with the hot water bottle. I had a meetup to host, but only stayed an hour before returning home to sleep. Finally went through all of the important mail that's been sitting around. The bills aren't as bad as I'd feared, but with the need for a new catalytic converter next month, things will be tight. Cleaned up a bit and discovered a virus on the new computer Santa brought...Figured out it was a minecraft "mod" download from The Youngest...

Corky had the day off and we were able to spend it together. We took The Boys to a local park for a picnic lunch and they played and drove their RC trucks around. We also went to a party at one of the cool school mom's homes, with a bunch of other cool school parents. Lots of food, beer, champagne punch and kids running wild. It was great. Corky had fun too.

The Boys had a baby powder fight on and around my car on Thursday? Friday? You know you've been off work too long when the days melt into one another. So they washed my car. Did a decent job, but like life itself, they need more practice. Went to the rehearsal for the wedding I'm shooting on Monday. Had forgotten that the ex is officiating. He asked if Corky was coming to the wedding. She isn't. She has to work, and she wasn't invited. I don't think she wants to be there, even if she were, as these are all of the ex's friends, or friends we had as a couple, who he still has as a couple with his gf. It makes interactions awkward, especially considering the non-finalization of the divorce... The four of us went to see Zoo Lights and it was cold. Nice to look at, but The Oldest thought we'd see the animals, and The Youngest wanted a light up sword. I thought there would be more lights, and Corky was cold. It was fine, but I would have almost preferred to cuddle on the couch with a movie.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

A Weekend without The Boys and I really missed them, though I did get most everything finished for Christmas. I will finish the rest today.

The Oldest had his middle school Winter concert, and they sounded really good. Corky and I enjoyed it, and The Oldest was in his element.

The final day of school and work before a two week vacation. Went to The Youngest's Holiday Party at school, wandered about, helped where I could and stayed to clean up. Spent the evening with Corky cuddling and watching movies. We had the opportunity to go Caroling with a bunch of the kids from school, but without The Boys, I thought I might be too sad.

Spent the morning with Corky in Berkeley. We wandered 4th Street and had a picnic lunch. It was a nice, relaxing time. I always love spending couple time together. The afternoon was making Irish Cream to give as gifts. The evening was finishing one of Corky's gifts.

Made my holiday fudge, and altered one of Corky's gifts. Had a wedding shower for the oldest son of friends. This is the same crowd as the wedding I shot in October, and yes, I am shooting the wedding next week. Still awkward being in this group when I am no longer a couple in the group, and the ex and his gf are a closer part of the group. I sadly realized on the way home that I really am no longer a part of the group, maybe I never was, and I don't really know what is going on in their lives. I felt very outsiderish. Could I have made more of an effort? Yes, absolutely. I felt really sad because I have such awesome memories of the entire group of people, and I miss that. Plus, having The Boys, and the ex there was weird...
did some laundry and worked on another gift into the night.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday My Town Shoot Out - Colors of the Season

I received an e-mail from Ginger V. inviting me back to the shoot out. I had been on the shoot out blog over the week anyway, checking out the new layout, and I like it. I was happy to see this is still going, and I have wanted to come back for a while. My life is settling down (kind of), and I actually added the themes to my phone so that I could have them at hand when I am out and about.

This week's theme is Colors of the Season and I shot this on Monday or Tuesday. I see this tree almost daily and think of it as our own change of seasons barometer for my little area of Northern California. Right now, I get to see the rich colors of fall in the dead of winter :-). This shot is directly from my phone, no filters, and no edits.

Go see more photos and join us here:

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Wednesday Post for Corky

Corky wakes up in the middle of the night, just about every night. And she reads this blog before going back to sleep. So for you, darling I will give everyone a mid week post today.

Dad is back home and seems to be doing better. I am pretty much finished with Christmas shopping, thanks to Corky staying home with The Boys one evening. It bummed me out a bit because I would have loved to have spent that time with them all, but at the rate I was going, Santa would have visited for New Years, or Twelfth Night... We've been trying to plan Christmas together and what that would look like, but The Boys and I will dine with my folks, and Corky will be at her sister's. Corky has been in a melancholy mood (as I assume she has every holiday for the last 4 years since her mom passed away). I am trying to help her in any way I can, and forging new traditions for her and I, as well as including her on my traditions. My folks made it clear that they would like her to join us on Christmas, but I know her family is just as important to her, as mine is to me. And neither of us would ever ask the other to choose. Family is first. Always.

Today, we are off to a field trip at the California Academy of Sciences with The Youngest. Should be fun and the place is awe inspiring, huge and there is so much to see! Cannot wait, and I may even have photos to share next week (if I can get my act together).

This song has been stuck in my head - thanks Corky ;-)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

Just when you think it's a good idea to take on additional photo work because things are kind of slow, WHAM! (not the 80's duo) I had four photo shoots, two Photoshop rush jobs, and real work was a bit crazy with last minute rush requests. Also, so many school related events. Two jazz band concerts, a ribbon cutting for the new building, and a Superintendent Council meeting. Oh and teaching two point perspective to 3rd through 5th graders. Add to that, Dad is back in the hospital with a secondary infection.

Superintendent council meeting, ribbon cutting, teach art. Come home with The Boys and get them to do homework, including redo of a science and three math assignments for The Oldest, and a complete rewrite of an Explorer report for The Youngest. After several fits, tears and begging, they actually did some of the work. Had to run by my folks' to take care of their dog before looking at some Christmas lights with Corky, and then to the concert. After the concert, more lights, and home to bed. I did manage to get a gift for sis, and spending time together is always nice.

Breakfast out for the four of us, and a visit to the hospital to see dad. The Boys completed the rest of the homework, I took a nap, and The boys vegged for a while. I worked on my photoshopping, and sent those out. Sorted through some additional pics, and began the fine detail editing of the October wedding photos. Laundry and cleaning (a bit), and pizza for dinner. Really tired for some reason. Everyone went to bed kind of early.

Photo shoot mid-morning, photoshopping and The Youngest had a friend over in the afternoon. The rest of the laundry, and finished knitting one of Corky's Christmas presents. I still need more yard for another couple of projects. Dad will be in the hospital for at least another couple of days while they try to pinpoint how to battle the infection.

I missed spending time with Corky. She worked Saturday night and most of Sunday. I will get to spend time with her this week, and this will be the final week of school (and work) for 2013. I will be taking the same time off that The Boys have off, and I am looking very forward to having some time to spend together with The Boys and alone with Corky. Also have some health care appointments this week, so it will be busy (again)...

Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday Morning Week Long Wrap Up

Busy week. Starting the wrap up with Thursday. My wrap up, my rules.

Had minor surgery to aid in not having my period for half of the time. It has been getting worse since June. It was fast, and relatively painless, but had severe cramping when I got home a few hours later. 1000 mg of ibuprofen and a nap later and I was still groggy, but not in as much pain. Corky came with me at the ungodly hour of 6:30 (though to be fair, that is kind of sleeping in for her). She stayed with me and drove me home, and took exceptional care of me while I recovered. She kept me bundled up and warm and fed.

Corky stayed to make sure I was okay, and to cater to all of my whims, which included watching movies and cartoons, and banana macadamia nut pancakes. I am lucky to have found her. Really very lucky. Late lunch / early dinner with Corky and her roommate. Got a call to pick up the boys and keep them overnight, which I was glad to do. I love having The Boys at home, and I truly miss them when they are not here. I completed one knitted Christmas gift for The Youngest - that pair of finger-less gloves he's been asking for the last two years. Now onto a hat for Corky and another pair of gloves for The Oldest.

The Youngest had an Instant Challenge day for DI at 8:30 in the morning. The team had fun and I enjoyed getting out of the house, though my cramps worsen when I do too much. Made a deal with The Boys that we would Christmas tree shop if they cleaned their room. They spent the next several hours building forts, playing and then cleaning their room. We scooted over to the nearest tree lot, and were met by Corky and her roommate. We all got trees and I dropped one off at Corky's. When we got home, the ex was waiting for us. The Boys helped unload the car and set up the tree and left for the rest of the weekend. I was feeling lonely and bleh for a while, and then decided to take another trip to JoAnn's for knitting needles. Ended up with more that I hadn't planned on, but another gift for Corky. Knit the rest of the night, and in a much better mood.

Woke up without cramps (Yay!) and in a good mood and rested. The day could only be good, right? While still in bed, thoughts hit me about marriage. I know Corky is moving in that direction (slowly, people. Glacier slow), and I have a block around the subject. I think I may have had an insight as to why. I love Corky and I want to spend my life with her. I am still ending my 20+ year marriage, and I think that much time in a declining partnership has soured my take on marriage. My marriage is how I define marriage. It is what I think of when I hear the word. I haven't turned the corner to marriage meaning hope and the future and beauty and love. I still see marriage as being stuck in a relationship you are not happy being in. Thankfully, I am spending my life with Corky, and not turning back, and I need to be done with the old life I led. The finalization of the divorce will be a step on that journey. Corky knows that everything is about timing. She is patient and is truly helping me get to the corner. I'll let you know once I am there. She'll be the first to know though. Spent the day doing laundry and knitting, and editing, and photo stuff while Corky worked and attended her Dad's birthday brunch. We shopped for groceries and Christmas presents, and had dinner together. The Boys joined us for dessert, we came home and everyone went to bed.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Happy 13th Birthday to The Oldest

My first baby is now a teenager. I look forward to seeing how he develops into a man.
A look at then & now in the kitchen:

Happy Birthday!

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

Tiring and emotional Weekend. Went into the weekend with a herpes sore on my lip, yeast infection and my period having started... Spent some time crying over various situations.

Thanksgiving in the US. Spent the morning in the hospital visiting my dad who was still hallucinating from the pain meds. Before I headed there, I dropped off some stuff at their house, and saw a single place set for Thanksgiving dinner. It made me exceptionally sad, thinking that my mom would be dining alone. Had a good cry over that while visiting Corky at work. Had dinner at a dear friend's home with his sister, boyfriend, and another friend. The turkey was huge, and the food was delicious. The boys were obnoxious, The Oldest getting in trouble and causing us to leave. Insisted my mom join us, but she was too tired, and explained that she had set the single place as an example for Thanksgiving dinner.

Was woken up at 1:00 am by the dogs needing to go potty. Was able to sleep in slightly, but did get up and got started on laundry. Corky came over and got us all out of the house to mini golf. We went to the place both of us golfed at as kids, and I really do like the atmosphere. It isn't one of the newer, generic places which I appreciate. We had lunch at a place she knows. The food was really good, and fast! The kids were full on half their orders, which is unusual. Came home briefly and headed out to visit my dad in the hospital. They were releasing him and he was still hallucinating. I hope this all resolves because it is jarring and disturbing to have these weird insistent conversations with him that have no basis in reality. Stopped and picked up Chinese food for dinner. This day marked kind of a turning point for The Boys, wherein they are now comfortable enough with Corky that they are acting obnoxious around her. It's the tween boy things - talk about bodily functions, farting and belching openly, chewing with their mouths open. Delightful. I roll my eyes and make them say excuse me, or close their mouths, or whatever. It disgusts Corky. They are just testing out her staying power, seeing if they can disgust her enough to cause her to leave. It hasn't worked, so it will taper off. Despite that, it was a wonderful day, getting my mind off of my stressors. Corky dedicated a song to me, which made me cry. Having someone in my life to support me, nurture me and love me is something I thought I would never happen. I was pretty sure I would be alone forever. I am amazed at how beautiful she is, and how much she loves me. She really does love all of me, the cellulite, the crying, the stress induced rants, and the crazy busy schedule. And that thought makes me cry. I have self esteem issues, and am working on feeling worthy of this unconditional love from my partner. And I am an emotional mess right now, crying as I type this even.

Got up relatively early, continued laundry and got ready for The Oldest's birthday evening with friends. He will be 13 on Monday, and I am not really having an existential crisis about having a teenager. I am plenty old enough to have grandchildren, but had The Boys later in life. I hope that makes me a better parent than a younger me would have been. Dad had to go back to ER with bladder spasms, but was sent back home with the catheter. I'm sure he is seriously unhappy about that. Dinner and the movie was good - I was really pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed Thor The Dark World. Late night, and expensive, but worth having The Oldest celebrate.

Woke up to find The Boys starting homework they'd "forgotten" about over break. They managed to finish pretty quickly while I ran some errands. The errands included buying black eye buttons to repair a stuffed animal for The Youngest. What I didn't count on was the insane crowd - 5 deep at the cutting table. So I had to weave through various aisles, which can be dangerous. I ended up with a stocking for Corky, yarn for another project, gloves for the boys and of course, the buttons. Ran into a nice lady who advised me on yarn, and then gave me a 60% off coupon. That put a huge smile on my face while I finished my errands. Then heard a Christmas song on my way home, and it made me feel really good and happy and smiley. I was really looking forward to the holiday, which hasn't happened for a few years. Corky got off work and joined us at my Sister's for The Oldest's family birthday dinner. The request was for lasagna, which Sis made for him, I brought Mary Bread and stuff for a make your own sundae bar. Sis made a delicious veggie lasagna, which is way better than mine. My folks didn't attend, with my Dad's health problems, but The Oldest was okay with that. Sis and Nephews set up their slot car set on the living room floor.The Oldest enjoyed himself with that, while The Youngest conducted a Nerf war with his cousins. It was a nice visit and Corky fit in nicely with my family :-). Came home and continued knitting on some Christmas gifts.

I hope you all have a terrific week!