Thursday, April 28, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

Not too much to shoot today. The Man and I had a meeting in the afternoon. Part of the meeting included a walk on a dirt road through the woods, looking at some property.

It was raining.

I decided to let the men go for the walk and I would stay behind and keep an eye on the cars. From inside one of the cars. Where it was dry.

I wasn't walking in the rain, no sirree. I had a thin white blouse on. Do you know what happens to thin white blouses in the rain?

They become transparent.

No sirree, no walk in the rain for me. So I got a wee bit bored. Then I looked down at my ruby red slippers and started snapping away.

I love my ruby red slippers. Just call me Dorothy.

There's no place like home.


Ruby red slipper trivia:

There were about 2300 sequins on each shoe.

There are five remaining pairs left. Each has an estimated value of $1.5 million dollars.

The slippers were originally silver in the novel. They were changed to red when the movie was filmed to take advantage of Technicolor.

You Are My Sunshine

Still practicing senior picture shots with K. She cooperated for all of five minutes. 

These three are the best of the fifty I snapped. And I had to snap fast. Her attention span was that of a gnat. 

I have lots of pictures of her bent over, cranky faced, giggly uncontrollably. Anything but smiling nicely for the camera. Or not smiling at all. 

I'd even take that.
Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God's handwriting - a wayside sacrament.  Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
She is such a beauty to me. I know I'm a little biased since I'm her mother. But, really? I think she's absolutely beautiful.

Her heart. 

That makes her beautiful inside and out.

I used to sing a song, "You Are My Sunshine", to my children when they were small. We would sit in a rocking chair in my bedroom and I would rock them and croon to them and kiss them and cuddle them and most days, it was this song I would sing. 

Unbeknownst to me at that time, this was also the song my dear father-in-law would sing to my mother-in-law. I remember one family gathering when Dad sat Mom in a chair in the middle of the living room, got down on one knee, and sang this to her in front of their children and grandchildren.

It was a wonderful thing to behold. Mom all flustered, Dad smiling and singing and getting a little bit choked up. All of us children and grandchildren smiling at the scene unfolding before us.

It was very humbling. To see a man so much in love with his wife.
Fast forward about ten years, and a few more sing-alongs along the way, and Dad is now living with Alzheimer's. We moved in with them to help take care of Dad and keep him home as long as we could. We kept him with us almost to the end. 

But the time came when Mom had to decide to find long term care for him. He wasn't able to move anymore, and he really didn't know anyone, except Mom, on good days. He had lost his words, except for a few utterances every now and then. He couldn't eat because he had forgotten how to swallow. 

It was time to get help.
His last night in the house he built was kind of busy. Mom and I went shopping to get him some things he would need: pajamas, slippers, a robe, some t-shirts. We weren't out long. We both wanted to get Mom home quickly so she could spend as much time with Dad as she could.

When we got in the house, we found the Man and J in the living room, watching some television. K was in the bedroom with Dad, talking to him.
When Mom and I walked into the room, K stood up and exchanged a look with Dad. He was looking at K, smiling a little bit. K took a breath.

And she started to sing.
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine,
You make me happy when skies are gray.
You'll never know, dear, how much I love you,
Please don't take my sunshine away.

Dad sang as many words as he could. His voice came out strong when he knew the word but it was weak when he didn't.

But then he would look at K, and she would carry the words for him.

He kept looking at K, seeking her guidance, and my heart broke. Since he couldn't sing the whole song, she became his voice.

She kept her eyes locked on his, both of them singing this love song to Mom, and smiling the whole time.

We couldn't keep it together. Tears flowed down our faces as Mom and I and the Man and J listened to this duet. The love between Mom and Dad and between Dad and K was palpable.

It's a night I'll never forget and a memory that I hold in my heart. God blessed us that night with a love so full that I still weep when I think about it.

So while I may be biased about her beauty, I am not biased about her heart.

She's got a great one.


Today's photos are courtesy of Mom's gardens. So many colors, so many flowers. Ah, spring has arrived.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bunnies and Yarn and Brownies, oh my!

I think I should call this photo "beautiful chaos" since there's way too much stuff going on. Baskets and basket parts are all over the place, eggs sitting next to her head, the telescope standing sentinel in the back corner. Fur blankets, tapestry pillows and swirly paisleys make my head spin and the Easter lily is trumpeting something. Much too busy.

But I like it.

Because I like her smile. It's real.

And paid for. Thank you, Mr. Orthodontist.

Worth every penny.
Sissy and the girls made these for Easter. Aren't they cute?

J and K inhaled them.


By the time I got to them, there were just a few pieces of coconut lying on the plate.

Erg. But better for my waistline.
This just makes me laugh. 

B, in knitting class last week, got her yarn stuck in the zipper of her jacket.

But not in the zipper part. It's stuck in the pull part. I have no idea how that happened. 

She was absolutely befuddled and had to call Teacher over to help her. Teacher is the best. She gets us out of all kinds of knitting disasters,  including stuck yarn.
Snack last week was scrumdiddlyumptious good, courtesy of M.

We had a healthy choice, lettuce wraps with turkey, apple butter, cheddar or blue cheese (she made two kinds), and a slice of apple.

And we had a not healthy choice. Those little babies above.

Simple, really.

A box brownie mix.

Three Symphony bars with almonds and toffee bits.

Make the brownie mix and put half in a 9x13 pan. Lay the three candy bars on top of that layer and then spread the rest of the brownie batter over the candy bars.

Bake as normal.


Oh my.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy Resurrection Day, 2011!

The Man is very excited about his garden plants. These are his babies. He checks on them many, and I stress many, times a day. He talks to them. He takes them outside for some sunshine.

When the sun shines, that is.

You know, every two or three weeks.

He takes them to see the garden and tells them where he's going to plant them.

He's a plant whisperer like his mom.

And they respond. They grow fantastically well for him. These plants are his first planting. He's started a second planting and they're just starting to come up. He gets so excited when he sees those tiny little sprouts bursting out of the soil. He can't wait to get things in the garden.

He has a map of the garden. You have to have a plan, he tells me. You're Type A, I tell him.

But I get to reap the reward from his {mild} obsession with gardening.

We celebrated his birthday this past weekend. K made him her signature chocolate cake with fluffy peanut butter frosting

She crushes up chocolate peanut butter cups to put on top of the cake. This cake is good.

Really good.

Go make it. Now.
K and I went over to Sissy's on Good Friday and made styrofoam faux sugar eggs with my nieces. K and I made these a long time ago, back when she was just a wee little girl and still liked to craft with her momma.

You need styrofoam eggs (medium to large sized), puffy paint, rick rack, ribbon roses, and things to put inside your panorama egg.
Cut the tip off the narrow end of the egg, about an inch deep.

Cut the egg in half, lengthwise.

Cut a small slice off the bottom of the egg, leaving a flat surface so the egg doesn't roll. 

Using a small spoon, hollow out the center part of the two halves, making sure to leave about a half inch of styrofoam along the edges. Look at the pics for guidance. 

Remember to scoop out along the edge of the egg where you cut the tip off. This makes the hole that you look into to see the panoramic scene inside.
Hot glue your scene inside. You don't want to cram too much in or you won't be able to see the things in the back. I think we used 3-4 items inside each egg.

Hot glue the top on the egg and then hot glue the rick rack around the middle of the egg, covering the seam where the top and bottom meet.

Hot glue three ribbon roses on the top of the egg and then use the puffy paint to decorate as desired.

Right now is a great time to buy the materials for this craft to do NEXT year since all the Easter stuff is marked down. Yay!

I loved getting the sugar panorama eggs when I was a child. It was a tiny little world, all by itself, and I would sit and look it for a long time when I would get one for Easter. 

These eggs bring back some good memories. And they're calorie free.
We colored Easter eggs. Or rather, Sissy and the girls colored Easter eggs and I took pictures.

I forgot to buy eggs.

We started Resurrection morning at sunrise service, celebrating our risen Lord, Jesus Christ. We followed that celebration with breakfast at the church with our church family. I love spending it with other believers.

Hands down, best day of the year.

After a little nap, and a bit of freshening up, we were back at church for morning service. 

Sissy hosted Easter dinner this year. She was a busy girl.

The table looked beautiful, the food was delicious, and the weather was nice enough to have an egg hunt.

A great day. Thanks, Lord.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Curious Cows

We were surprised by the sunshine on Sunday afternoon so the Man and I decided to take a walk and headed toward the dairy farm down the road. I drive by this farm just about every day and often see the cows meandering back to their "barn". I've never stopped to take pictures, though, so this walk was the perfect opportunity to catch these lovely ladies as they rounded the corner near the road.

They were very curious while I was taking their picture.

As a matter of fact, they froze.

And just stared at me.

The mostly black one in the picture below started snuffling at me and didn't look very happy to have me so close. I was standing on the road and there were a few feet between her and I, plus that fence, and I still was a bit hesitant to stand there for long. 

But after a minute or so, she quieted down and just watched me. Then I started talking to her. Telling her how pretty she was.

The Man was on the other side of the road, shaking his head at me, wondering why I was talking to a cow.
So I stood for few minutes, soaking up some sunshine, enjoying taking pictures of the cows that I've wanted to take pictures of for a long time.

But soon enough the Man tired of waiting for me and signaled me that it was time to head home. I got about a quarter mile up the road and started whining, "Carry me! Carry me!"

Our kids used to say this when we would go for a hike and they would get tired.

The Man laughed at me until I informed him I was serious.

I even told him to go home and get the car and come back for me. I was tired and bored now that my mission had been accomplished.

He gave me a look and I marched my little behind home. Stopping every now and then to look at the pretty cow pictures I had.

It was worth the three mile walk.
When I got home, the sun was shining so pretty through the daffodils.

I shot this perfectly focused and it did nothing for me, but when I blurred it? Yup, I like it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Impromptu photo shoots

Did an impromptu photoshoot with K and her friend, L, on Saturday afternoon. K straightened her hair and I was amazed at how different she looked.

Where's my K? And who is this woman sitting in my yellow chair?

Several of K's friends have asked me to do their senior pics so I'm just starting to think about locations for their pictures. I really like the green grass background off my patio but I want to wait and see how the lawn comes in.

The Man is in the middle of a "two year plan". Did you know there were plans out there for getting a thick, lush, vibrant lawn? 

Right now, it's a wee bit sorry looking. Actually, it's a whole lot of sorry looking. Yellow, dead grass and bare spots. Uh-oh. 

The Man assures me this is all part of the plan.


In the meantime, I need plans B, C, and D for photoshoot locations so my wheels are spinning and I've got a few places in mind.

Just in case the two year plan fails. 
L wants to be an actress. Well, she is an actress.

She wants to be famous. I want her to be famous. Then I can say, "I know her!!!" And squeal when she shows up on television, or the big screen.

I think she's got a good chance at it. What a beautiful girl.


I'm trying a different time of day to blog. In the past, I've blogged late at night, after everyone had gone off to bed, or at least in their rooms, and I had some quiet to sit and think and write. 

But that makes me so tired the next morning. So I've been going to bed earlier and not blogging so much. 

That's not working for me either.

I'm going to try and get up earlier and blog in the morning. I'll let you know how that turns out.

If you don't see any blog posts, you'll know it's not turning out so good.

Stay tuned.


P.S. The Man and I took a v.e.r.y. long walk on Sunday and I got some good shots of a few cows meandering back to their barn. But I didn't post them. I didn't think the girls would like pictures of cows in the same post as their photoshoot. 

Just a hunch.

You'll see them next time. They are very cute cows. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spring day

On our way to church tonight.

Just enough clouds to make for a pretty spring sunset. And the green, green grass is starting to come out to play.

The Man wants to mow the grass very badly. He loves riding around on his tractor. I remind him that gas is tres cher right now and stop joy riding out in the yard.

He thinks I'm a spoilsport.
"Faith is like radar that sees through the fog." ~ Corrie Ten Boom
Playing around with the palette knife effect again. Top picture is plain, bottom picture has palette knife applied to it. 

I really like that effect. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size.  ~Gertrude S. Wister

Well, hello there. It's been awhile.

I'm all better now. My cold is gone and I'm able to stay awake past 9:00 pm. I really didn't like this cold. It didn't treat me very well. Not that I like any colds, but some seem to hang on longer than others. And this one seemed very comfortable, hanging around and beating me up.

But it has moved on elsewhere and I'm feeling back to my old self.

I haven't felt like taking any pictures lately. Really. It was an effort to lift the camera, never mind think about composing a shot.

Today, I felt like getting outside and shooting something, anything.

The daffodil in the top photo amazed me. Not at first, though.

I thought I was just snapping a shot of a pretty daffodil but when I looked at the photos in the camera, all I could see was the yucky brown wet leaves in the middle of the stem. I thought they had fallen from the tree and landed on the flower but when I went to shoo them away, I found them impaled on the flower's stem. 

The daffodil's stem had grown right through the fall leaves.

Maybe that doesn't surprise you, but it sure surprised me. That's a strong stem.


In the bottom picture you can see the row of garlic the Man planted, marked off by the white markers.

He's so eager to get out in the garden. And tend his lawn.

He's edged all the flower beds, and thatched the grass, and started his tomato seeds. He's planted the peas and is scouring the house for all the flower bulbs he pulled up last year.

He's just about quivering with the need to get outside and do something, anything.

That seems to be the theme for this week. Get outside and do something, anything.
My new spring table runner. Very colorful. And full of polka dots. Makes me think of Anthropologie, even though I got it at Pier 1.

And look at the little cuties in the top center photo. Matryoshka doll measuring spoons. How cute are those? Thank you, Fred Flare.

That salad in the bottom center photo? Best. Salad. Ever.  Got the recipe from here. This is a fantastic website full of low-fat recipes. And tasty, too. I found this site thanks to Mr. & Mrs. Go check out her blog. She posts lots of yummy links to all kinds of very delicious food. And healthy, too.
And this is what life looks like right now.


Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun. Please shine down on me.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Weekend Vignettes

Growing some grass for Easter. I love this centerpiece.

And as I reminded the Man, I can, too, grow something.

And as he reminded me, I'm growing weeds.

K had a prom dress fitting, of course.

The dress we ordered wasn't available in her size. 

There was only one dress left in the warehouse, and it was five times bigger than what she wears. So we ended up buying the dress the shop had and now have to alter it. Because it's only two times as big as the size she wears.

So while we were doing that, the Man and J took my nieces out for a canoe ride. I was a wee bit skeptical about this but they assured me everything would be fine.

K and I hadn't been home more than a few minutes when we heard the other crew coming in the back door. And some crying. And a lot of "Auntie!" being shouted from the kitchen.

What did I see when I got in there?

Four soaking wet, dripping, mucky people making a bunch of mud on the kitchen floor.

Yes, they flipped the canoe.

And ended up in the river.

So while they were trying to tell me what happened, Uncle D flipped the boat! He grabbed a tree branch! J had to throw us up on shore because we were sinking in the boat!, I was ushering them upstairs to get under the warm water to stop them from shivering quite so dramatically.

And trying to figure out how I was going to present this story to Sissy.

After a warm shower, and hot tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, they snuggled on the couch under a warm, furry blanket and watched "How to Eat Fried Worms". Which is why E has a gummi worm coming out of her mouth.
Poor K. She doesn't stand a chance against all those snowballs.

We hiked a small mountain the day after the canoe flipped and found some snow still on the ground. So, of course, we had to have a snowball fight. In April. Unbelievable.

The girls left with lots of stories to tell their friends, tales of heroism and adventure.

It was a good weekend with them.


Except for the cold I have. Uck.