December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008 and Hello 2009

Well....hell - it was a year wasn't it? Looking back at this blog over the year I've gone from the lowest of lows to some highs and back to a slight set-back. I think 2008 was all about teaching me acceptance of loss and the ability to pull myself back up by the bootstraps.

My friend Mel last night (she is one of my biggest cheerleaders and, one of the most honest, true people I know) told me that she is excited that I have the chance to "reinvent" myself. How like her to find the flipside of my pity party last night when I was bemoaning moving and feeling quite lost. And I told her last night that today I would see the world differently but last night, I was indulging myself a bit.

I was feeling whelmed in all the things I need to accomplish in a month -- to wit: moving, finding a job, divesting myself of a lot of liabilities, and well - getting back on my feet. *whew* That's a big ol' elephant in the room, but as you get to know me, you will know that one of my favorite sayings is "you eat the elephant one bite at a time." So, that's how I began my day - eating the elephant one bite at a time. I'm not tackling the entire place at one time. I'm doing a bit here and there every day. Until wow - I've already noticed some progress. I'm sending out at least one resume a day. gets easier.

And grief - well, that gets easier too. There is not a day that goes by that I don't miss them...but, as my sister said - some healing must be taking place when we laugh at little personality quirks my mom or dad passed along to us.

Yesterday I saw a bumper sticker that said "prisoner of hope". I thought about that a lot all through yesterday. Are we truly prisoners of hope? Slaves to waiting? Or, do we help hope along by helping ourselves? I don't want to be a prisoner of anything. Hope is that little whisper that picks me up from the deepest of my fears. That little spark in the darkness. Sometimes that depth seems darker and deeper than we can ever climb. Sometimes we dwell in that place but we have to continue to search for that ladder. We have to - to give up is to die.

And I'm not quite ready for that. is my hope for 2009. I hope, dream, wish and will fight for it to be the best year that I've had so far. I may or may not succeed....but, I will keep on swinging for the fences.

December 29, 2008

After the hiatus...

Finally - back out yesterday and today. It felt good to hold the camera in my hand and to explore. Very diverse days in the terms of light and subjects. Yesterday - overcast and flat light, urban setting. Today - bright sunlight, crisp blue sky and the gardens with a fellow photographer (she got a new camera for christmas and it was about to burn her fingers off to go shooting) are some tidbits. I shot almost 400 frames over the two I won't bore you with the ten shots of the same building over and over and over. Funny how we do that now in the digital age, right?




We wish ourselves beautiful, we cry in the night




berry good

December 28, 2008



... joy and sorrow are inseparable. . . together they come and when one sits alone with you . . . remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.
~~~~Kahlil Gibran

oops she did it again

Love Your Neighbor

When you're tagged and you know it...say...something random. Tangobaby hit me up with this folks.

Legal verbage that everyone says:

1. Link to the person who tagged you. (done.)
2. Post the rules on your blog. (Here they are.)
3. Write six random things about yourself. (see below)
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them. (ehhh, so I broke the rules here)
5. Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog. (N/A)
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up. (done)

so....let's get it started in here
1. I think in song lyrics or movie quotes more often than not. Usually no one really gets most of why I'm saying when I do that outloud. They stare, I look away - it gets awkward. Which makes me feel geeky. So I compensate usually by not saying much sometimes. Better quiet than proved an idiot.

2. I hate mustard - I meant really loathe it. If I can taste mustard on something, I will stop eating it. And same goes for raw onions - except they really make me sick. But...weirdly, I love caramelized onions or onion rings. *shrugs* There is a method to my madness, I swear.

3. I collect all of my hotel key cards and keep them in a basket. I especially love the Hampton Inn cards that show what state you visited. I also love the photography at Hampton Inn. I hope someone got paid for that.

4. I read the last Harry Potter book in one seating - I was exhausted and my eyes hurt for hours after I finished. Not just from reading, but I admit - I cried too. It was hard to say goodbye to characters I've loved and, it was a series that my nephew and I read together. We loved talking about the books when he was younger - I think he's outgrown that for a while...but at least he still loves to read.

5. I usually do not discuss religion or politics with anyone except very close friends. I find that people are so passionate about their beliefs that it just causes too much tension. I actually lost a friend when I told her "we will just have to agree to disagree" when we didn't see eye to eye on an election. She has never spoken to me since. I'm not a judgemental person and will defend anyone's right to say what they believe in - I hope they will give me the same curtesy.

6. I seem to be a magnet for red traffic signals - I guarantee that I will be stopped at each light in a string - unless of course I'm trying to put on lipstick or write a check. Then I will be on the neverending green light stream until I give up. Then, back with the red.

Ack! Does anyone want to participate? If so, consider yourself "tagged." Otherwise, back to your regular programming.

December 27, 2008

red love

I haven't gone "shooting" since last week...I've got to get out tomorrow. In the meantime...

Hope I'm not showing my undies!

The glorious Tangobaby gifted a few fellow bloggers with some awards and I was indeed honored to be among the group. If you haven't read Tangobaby yet...well, you need to get over there! Her blogs really strike a chord with me. As do a lot of the people that are listed either on the left side of my blog or on the "Blogs I Follow" list on my dashboard.

The awards?

"Blogs I love"


The SSA!

*curtsy* It's always fun to be remembered by a fellow blogger. But I love to the share the love around. Do poke your noses into the blogs I've recommended. Not all may appeal to you - but, you may find some you like. I've noticed more and more people coming to some of my very favorites and adding to their growing list. It's fun spreading the love!

And thank you again Tangobaby - I think you're the bomb diggity.

December 25, 2008

merry merry

What a beautiful Christmas - even with the miserable weather! Last night we went to church as is the tradition in our family. As I sat there and watched the small children play the nativity, looked into the faces of my family, and held the small candle in my hands I realized in that moment everything was perfect. Not my situation sure...but I have so many wonderful things that I can celebrate, it eases the sting of the other.

And I heard a message - a verse I had claimed a couple of weeks ago when I first was wrestling with what 2009 will bring. "For I know the plans I have for you...plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." As the minister delivered his message, he echoed this exact verse again to me. Those words have leap off the page to me twice now. I know in my heart that I do have a purpose and that I will find it.

Christmas eve dinner with the family was wonderful in its own chaos - the baby so sweet, the four-year-old GA so excited that her cheeks were blotched red, and the nephews thrilled with their new loot. The pitching in to prepare Santa for the girls after they went to bed...and the ride home with my handsome brother.

Waking up early after a late night - to see the nephews happy with presents. Playing Rock Band and singing really badly - the togetherness again my sister and brother as the boys went to their dad's. And making my first Christmas dinner ever. Funny how that is - in the past, mom always made Christmas dinner or reservations. Last year was spent in the dark hole of not eating at all when you miss someone so bad. This year, we could laugh and cry with good memories. So, the shrimp and grits were a bit soupy - it will be better next time.

And lighting candles graveside at dusk tonight after we could not do it on Christmas eve. It's a tradition we've done well, I guess since my brother died in 1975. I can barely remember when we didn't do it. Tonight - as my sister and I went alone to carry out the tradition, we wondered if it was time to stop. Technology has passed the paper bag luminaries by with battery operated candles. These days the number of paper bags out number the number of people lighting as too many people have passed on. And though I don't think of my loved ones in those graves - it is a good way to pause and remember them.

Of course, mom totally would have disapproved of watching Superbad on Christmas night. She would have found it disrespectful. But...she would have loved to have been surrounded with her children. Just like me I loved sitting and laughing with my family ... for me, Christmas was the best. And Santa brought me what I requested ... except for the job part, and I suspect it's just on another sleigh that is a bit slower to arrive.

December 23, 2008

sappy words and hot tea

Christmas Angel

My mind is on so many things this morning. The nature of good and evil, the good intentions of loved ones and the essence of friendship. A lot of heavy thoughts on this Christmas eve eve...and not one I'm ready to share with everyone.

But instead, I will take a page from my friend Georgia's blog, there are ten things that warm my heart today.

1. The love of family and friends - everlasting and everlong. It it the beacon in the storm and the shelter in the cold.
2. The grace of forgiveness and forgetting - there have been so many times that I have screwed up, whether intentionally or unbeknown to me. Forgiveness is appreciated but forgetting is true grace.
3. The laughter of children at this season and all year through - nothing makes me smile more than seeing the sheer joy of a child's face alight with happiness.
4. The security of living in a country where we have abundant resources. And though we don't always use them the best we can - we have much here and I'm grateful for the access to those resources.
5. The simple pleasure of hot tea, honey and a good shortbread cookie. When the weather is dank and nasty - I have these simple things to warm my stomach.
6. The unconditional affection of my boy kitty - though I fuss and cuss that I don't want the responsibility of a pet, I do enjoy his snuggles and purrs when I'm feeling down and lonely.
7. The warm light of candles.
8. The words of other writers that strike a chord deep within my heart. Words to lift and inspire me...words of comfort, words of peace, words of understanding, vulnerability, even fear. A reminder that though I feel lonely, I'm not always alone.
9. My camera's ability to explore places I've never "seen" before and the comfort I receive just holding it in my hands.
10. And the knowledge that in the midst of it all....weeping may endure for a night, joy comes in the morning.

December 21, 2008

mama can still shake it ....

don't you just hate when you leave something at the store and you don't realize until you need it? *sigh* all that beautiful seaform green and peach colored tulle to make tu-tus - gone. Of course it was only about $10 worth of materials, I was excited to make something for the girls by hand. Perhaps I will go back out this afternoon to find some more.

I went out with friends last night dancing - the first night I've been dancing in quite a while. I had forgotten what characters are in small bars in small towns - everything from the one we dubbed "Mr. Nasty" that looked as if he had just been released from prison to the woman six months pregnant dancing to "You Shook Me All Night Long." The alcohol was cheap, the company was good and the dancing was so much fun. As I tumbled into bed this morning at three, it was a good night without many worries. I don't even hate my sister much for dragging me to all the shopping places in Montgomery trying to find the perfect pajamas for Christmas eve.

Presents are wrapped - Christmas day dinner is planned - and the boys will be alone for almost a week with their presents. What are the odds that there will be any surprises Christmas morning?

December 19, 2008


In light of what is happening around me, I am posting something written a while ago.


What is significant? In relation to all we know in the world - what is significant? Is a mouse significant to an elephant? Or does the elephant walk on past never noticing the small creature hiding in the shadows?

How often have we walked on past a penny - deeming it not worth the effort to pick it up. But if we saw a hundred pennies - would we pick them up then? What if you saw a thousand pennies - is that worth it? So, if you picked up a thousand pennies one at a time - is that worth it or do you continue to walk on?

A grain of sand is nothing, or is it? If it's in your eye it becomes significant. Or, if you place millions of grains of sand on a beach it becomes a thing of beauty. A mote of dust is nothing until it dances in the sunlight. It's grace and grandeur can dazzle us for a minute or an hour.

So, when you think you are lost and alone - that you do not matter because you are one. Remember you are significant because you matter to me. I would stop to scoop you up. I would collect one, a hundred or a thousand of you. I will watch you dance to your own music and decorate the beach with your love. You matter. You are important. You are you.

December 17, 2008

on the first day of unemployment my true love said to me....

Actually I'm not so much unemployed as I'm without a job currently. I'm lucky enough that I finished my work and my soon to be ex-job let me stay home with pay to work on my job as much as I joke - I do have a paycheck until 12/31.

So, after having a double whammy of goodbyes yesterday (work and Samford) I decided to sleep in, run errands and start the combing of want ads. Well, the phone rings early - so no sleeping in. I did run tons of errands today and now understand the allure of the lady of leisure role. Before I always swore that it would bore me, but I suspect they work as hard as anyone - especially with children. I had the oil changed in my Jeep, I dropped off dry cleaning, scheduled an interview, bought tulle to make handmade tu-tus for the nieces, purchased some christmas presents, picked up some prints at Wolf...oh, you caught that?

Yes, I scheduled a job interview. So....that's a successful first day, right? It makes me feel better. It may not be "the one" but any interview is a good one in today's economy. And, I bought cookies! I know, I know - it's the time of year to bake but being single, it's easier for me to visit Edgar's for their yummy featherweight lemon cookies than it is to buy ingredients. And their pecan sandies? To.Die.For.

One week until Christmas eve! Are you counting the minutes? I officially have one more present to buy - it's for my youngest niece. She's one, so....I may go to Homewood Toys to be inspired tomorrow. She loves baby dolls but she just got a new Bittie Baby for her birthday. hmmmmmm

In the meantime, my favorite Christmas shot from last weekend.
silver and gold

who are you?

I took this fun quiz this morning at the behest of fellow blogger FiFi. It was a fun little timekiller!

I'm a Bette - who's shocked?? Not me really. But, I swear, I'm only 75% as much of a broad as the original Bette.

Quiz results

You Are a Bette!


You are a Bette -- "I must be strong"

Bettes are direct, self-reliant, self-confident, and protective.

How to Get Along with Me
  • * Stand up for yourself... and me.
  • * Be confident, strong, and direct.
  • * Don't gossip about me or betray my trust.
  • * Be vulnerable and share your feelings. See and acknowledge my tender, vulnerable side.
  • * Give me space to be alone.
  • * Acknowledge the contributions I make, but don't flatter me.
  • * I often speak in an assertive way. Don't automatically assume it's a personal attack.
  • * When I scream, curse, and stomp around, try to remember that's just the way I am.

What I Like About Being a Bette
  • * being independent and self-reliant
  • * being able to take charge and meet challenges head on
  • * being courageous, straightforward, and honest
  • * getting all the enjoyment I can out of life
  • * supporting, empowering, and protecting those close to me
  • * upholding just causes

What's Hard About Being a Bette
  • * overwhelming people with my bluntness; scaring them away when I don't intend to
  • * being restless and impatient with others' incompetence
  • * sticking my neck out for people and receiving no appreciation for it
  • * never forgetting injuries or injustices
  • * putting too much pressure on myself
  • * getting high blood pressure when people don't obey the rules or when things don't go right

Bettes as Children Often
  • * are independent; have an inner strength and a fighting spirit
  • * are sometimes loners
  • * seize control so they won't be controlled
  • * figure out others' weaknesses
  • * attack verbally or physically when provoked
  • * take charge in the family because they perceive themselves as the strongest, or grow up in difficult or abusive surroundings

Bettes as Parents
  • * are often loyal, caring, involved, and devoted
  • * are sometimes overprotective
  • * can be demanding, controlling, and rigid

Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz

December 15, 2008

Photography Review

Tomorrow night is my last photography review at Samford. It makes me sad, but...those are the breaks. If you lived in Birmingham, it would be ever so much fun for you to join us tomorrow night as all of the students from all classes gather for the Semester Review. My instructor is fabulous and I will miss his eye and advice. So....without much more fanfare - these are the shots selected for review for the Winter Semester:

Hope is the dream of a soul awake


skater boy

bruised fruit salad


the reader


I thought some were interesting choices....of course a couple of my favorites didn't make the cut.

off with your head

Georgia found this great link about how to create polaroids.
Friday the big boss came into my office and offered the remainder of the year off, with pay, to look for a job. It's a wonderful thing, it is but I didn't give it much thought - I still had work to do. Today, the supervisor comes in and tells me that he needs my credit card by the end of the day. *gulp*
And then it hit me again. Nine years of my life are summerized in the turning over of a credit card and cleaning out my desk. Nine years of growth and happiness all swamped in a tide of bad credit and stupid stock markets.
I don't know why I'm crying today - I knew this day was coming....just not today.

December 14, 2008

thoughts from Carol's Garden

I'm housesitting this weekend - funny how different a house feels than an apartment. I know that you can make an apartment a home, but there is just something about a yard. I've puttered around, made a yummy dinner and curled up and watched TV on her long, cushy sofa.

Her house is filled with a life of collections - particularly her pink depression glass displayed against a lime green wall. Her wet bar filled with shelves of funky drink glasses that make splashes of color against the tin lined wall. And I think of all the things I would do if I didn't have to worry about painting a dull construction beige wall and the dull beige carpet.
If I had a little cottage it would have wooden floors and bright white walls. It would decorated with bright, warm colors and a combination of the old and new things that I have loved over the years. My collection of antique luggage, by english bone china cups, and bits and pieces of this and that. And then I would start collecting more of the things that I'm drawn to these days. I would haunt thrift stores. And I would cook again - because I would have room to store cooking utensils instead of the cramped one cupboard where pans and food dwell now.

Today would be soup and cornbread - something simple and hearty. I would read the paper and cuddle with my sweet gray cat. I would wash clothes and prepare for the upcoming week. Maybe I would even bake some cookies or a cake....maybe even a cherry pie.

Maybe all this is coming to me and I'm putting this thought out into the universe. Because I miss my garden I used to have. I miss planting tulips and seeing them peek out after the winter's nap. I miss the bright pink vine of flowers and dream of a jasmine bower where I can sit to read. And I would have big windows with tons and tons of light.

December 13, 2008


You really must visit Joy today!!! She's giving away two awesome freebie textures....AND you get to see Molly all dolled up for Christmas! clicky clicky here!!

plus...check out her words - she's inspirational with her 30 days of gratitude.

This is one of the shots edited with a free texture -

December 12, 2008

sunshine, Anne Frank and jellybeans

What a difference a day can make. No, I didn't find a job overnight but with the sun coming out and shining it seems to make the world an easier place in which to cope. They predicted snow last night in Birmingham but of course, we didn't see nary a flake. I went out on the breezeway of my apartments last night to see if I could spot a flake. No, still nothing. But - the sky was this amazing antique pink from the reflections of city lights on the thick, gloomy, rainswollen clouds. Torn between cold and wet and a rather perfect shot, I wimped and tried to handhold the shot. Much to my chagrin - my hands are just not steady enough for a darken wintery sky.

Yesterday was spent swimming the beautiful places of blogland - making new friends and finding new discoveries. My world was awash in gorgeous colors and places and reading the hopes and dreams of many. And though, at times, I tend to wear my sarcastic nature as a steel-lined cloak - I find myself comparing my inner child to Anne Frank, who believed in the goodness of it all. Even when the world is harsh and ugly.

I found a box of Christmas ornaments yesterday that I thought I had lost or had been broken. Each year, my glass ornaments are wrapped with tender care in tissue paper so the following year when I open them, they are like a surprise gift. The box sits in my office now - waiting for the right light, the right moment and my camera. I have been inspired by the photographers and maybe today is the day I get to try my 50mm on the ornaments.

Or my jellybeans...I do so love a good jellybean.

December 11, 2008

ups, downs and sideways

She generally gave herself vary good advice (though she very seldom followed it) ~~ from Alice in Wonderland

I find myself a rather discontented and restless cat these past two to three weeks. Though I know on one hand what is supposed to happen and I have packed my parachute appropriately - there are still many things that are unknown. The exact "last day", the amount of work I'm expected to finish before the "drop dead" date, and well, what is to happen after that. Just now I looked at my corkboard and thought, "I have to take that down too and go through the accumulated bits and bobs."

The job search is dismal and everywhere I turn there are more and more people in the same situation. If I really allowed myself to dwell on it I would have a complete and total freakout. So, I plan and keep my head (well, maybe my nose) just enough above water to breathe. Tuesday night was my very last photography class and next Tuesday is the review. I will miss the atmosphere of people sharing their work and learning, stretching, growing. So much has changed in two years with a camera. And I can't imagine how I lived life before without it. Even now my fingers itch as I haven't shot anything of substance lately.

Going from living alone and alone-ness to being a part of a community and having a room mate. That is a radical change. Going home...awww hell, going home is difficult at best - especially with the memories. But..I will make the new memories and that is good.

In preparing to move, I'm overwhelmed but I have a month to get organized about it. A lot to discard and a lot to sort through. Do I really need dishes and china and even Christmas china? How many pairs of black pants can a girl really wear? Will I ever wear those brown polka dot shoes again? And what about my books?

But in counting my blessings - I'm ahead of the game. I have so many blessings, even in the midst of it all. I remind myself constantly of that fact. It keeps me sane actually.

December 10, 2008

do you hear what I hear?


I've threatened to make this my Christmas card this year as I cannot seem to capture a good shot of the four children together.

Let me introduce you to Princess Molly Kinky Butt (yes, she has her own special song to go with that name.) She is so bestowed with the name due to her tiny nub of a tail bearing a likeness to a lightening bolt. Have you seen bigger ears on such a dainty little doggie?

I only wish I had found her a special Christmas necklace before I got this shot.

December 9, 2008

to the tune of....

my past five days consisted of:
6 hours of shopping,
5 christmas purchases,
4 beloved children,
3 different cities,
2 job interviews, and
1 princess birthday party!!

It's been a whirlwind and I get to sleep in my own bed tonight....even though there were lovely beds in the cities, there is nothing quite like at home, is there? The job interviews were just tender seedlings planted with wishes and hopes for more.

I feel as if I've neglected my blog lately. But, hopefully the rest of this week will settle down so I can put my past couple of weeks into some type of perspective. Like the album title says, "what if it all means something." Well....of course it does. I can't believe we're all here aimlessly floating around and just bumping into each other for absolutely no reason.

I just need to find another special purpose. Photobucket

cuteness of the day


December 7, 2008

new eyes

yesterday I learned the new world of courtesy interviews but weathered a storm in my heart. my toes dipped into the world of interviews, I have to believe the right thing will happen at the right time and as my sister reminds me, I have a plan.

today was one of those perfect days where you go with dear friend and just have a wonderful day. shopping two artist communities to find perfect presents you would have never found in a store. tomorrow I will take some shots of these gorgeous hand-painted angels I found...and if my sister will let me, her necklaces she is making.

the sunset tonight was the most glorious I've seen in a while - the perfect and crisp blue against the oranges and golds that slipped into fushia and melons then into deep purples. a day filled with new photo opportunities and plans to get out to the wetland with my camera.

I saw my hometown with new eyes of many old places - I laughed at the tour guide that was taking us on a commando tour of old town, I cried with friends, and I held perfect love in my arms in the form of my niece.

and I set off my brother's house alarm - you just can't win them all....but, it's fun trying.

December 3, 2008

Columbia and surroundings

The area is really beautiful - unfortunately, not much time to take photographs except at the airport. Tomorrow I will see what I got. I'm riding high as I have two job interviews lined up and possibilities are presenting themselves.

things to do while bored during a 3 hour layover

I will catch up with everyone tomorrow as I've been without computer access for 48 hours!


December 1, 2008

maybe you can go home again

I grew up in Montgomery, Alabama and though it was the center of racial tensions in the south during much of my childhood, I don't really remember much from those times. I can remember riding the bus downtown. My mom would take we kids to the library every two weeks and we would savor books to check out. The art musuem was housed in the upper part of the building holding the library, so we would check out the artwork too.

Dexter Avenue

We would also ride the bus downtown to shop before shopping malls took over the world. We had Belks and Kress. If we were good, we could have a soda at the Dixie Rexall.


During the summer, the Paramount Theater had the "Buddy Club" where they would show movies free for kids 12 and under. I can remember riding the bus downtown with my friends - can you imagine that now? *shakes head* The YMCA where I learned to swim was also on the bus route.

Montgomery has a rich history - a sometimes shameful history...but it's my hometown - a place to which I may return. Yesterday - I drove around to remember the good. I've changed a lot since I left Montgomery years ago - I changed into a big city girl. But there is good in a slower pace, family and friends, and love.
I'll leave you with this quote someone sent me this morning - It seems oh, so very appropriate:
Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity. ~~ Albert Einstein