September 30, 2009


such a glorious day today, perfect sky, perfect sun, perfect temperature...perfect, perfect, perfect. so perfect that no one could stay inside. so i went to the zoo. our zoo is not very big but it's very nice with the habitats done very naturally. i took tons of pictures, well by tons i mean 212 but when you shoot in raw, that takes forever to download. (i finally made the commitment to raw but boy does it take up space due to the file size)

the white bengal tigers were gorgeous. this beauty posed for quite a while while trying to measure up if i was a tasty morsel that he could reach. in the meantime, his partner sized up the neighbors. (there is a fence between the tigers and the cage of gazelles and deer. and the deer enjoyed taunting the tigers.)

i also spent a lot of time at the elephant habitat. the little baby elephant was so very, very, very cute. when i first got to the area, he was in the corner and was routed out of hiding by mom. while dad had fun eating hay, mom and baby patrolled the enclave, with nudges back in line when he would stray off. this shot was so sweet of them touching noses. (awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww)

how can your heart not melt at that?

now for the adventure part of the program. i carried my tripod today - a tripod is always good when i work with my 70mm-300mm zoom lens as the focus can get really soft at the long end, plus with the lowest aperture at f/6.3 fully zoomed, that is a very slow shutter. so, when i got the the lions, i moved back and forth with the tripod trying to find: (1) a clean enough place in the glass to see the lions; (2) an angle where i could see both of them; and (3) maybe a good place for a close-up. the lion you see in the shot is not a female lion as you automatically think. it's a castrated male - his mother died not too long after he was born, so he was castrated to help with severe separation anxiety he was experiencing. (sounds a bit harsh if you ask me - but i'm not a vet.)

anyway, as i worked with the tripod - he was watching me watching him. when i moved the tripod close to the glass, i suddenly noticed he was running towards me - well, a fast trot at least. all the time i was thinking, 'steady, steady, steady - square the shot, square the shot.' but all my hands would do is stand there in shock, getting off this one shot just before he roared. after, he went back and laid down with his brother. it was something like, 'leave me alone damn human' or maybe, (to paraphrase) 'do not meddle with the naps of lions because thou art crispy and taste good with ketchup'.

it was a good day...maybe if i closed my eyes tightly and imagined, i had a farm in africa.

September 29, 2009


i debated on posting this shot or not. when i was younger, my hands were my vanity - long slender fingers, just like my fathers. I wore small rings and worn several as my fingers could accommodate them. i wore 'the nails' and french manicures - the works. until one day, it was just all too much for me. the rings were a bother, they got in my way with work - i took off my wedding ring - it all seemed to gradually happen.

then, i took this picture and did my mother's hands get on my body? *chuckle* just for the record - this will be the last time you see my hands. you see, i can't figure out how i got 'old lady hands' when i feel so young. i can't figure how why i need 2.0 readers when i can see so far. i can't for the life of me figure out why i'm so damn tired all the time. how did this young woman get trapped in this body?

i officially call no fair.

September 28, 2009

potato salad was had by all

the birthday party was a wonderful time and i'm happy to report the potato salad was received very well. my sister in law laughed at we siblings as we are used to certain meal items being catered to our taste by mom - which makes the exact ingredients of mom's potato salad much more of a guess than common knowledge. my youngest brother swears she never put onions in it - my other brother didn't know about the celery seed - when she tried to cater it to me, she left out mustard and onion. the only agreement were the eggs and olives. here is what i remember chopping many, many, many times as a child: olives, eggs, celery (eventually she started using celery seeds instead), pimentos and onion. to that she added mayo (miracle whip actually), mustard, sweet relish and potatoes. served cold.

the brownie pops eventually just turned into individual brownie cakes - the girls were so happy having their very own cakes and candles. it was just the best time - except i forgot to actually light my sister's candles. hahahaha - it was very hectic. getting ready for the company i finally got the studio arranged the way i want it. the extra furniture previously in the way was stored and i'm in heaven. look at how the light hits my little table (built by my father). (of course the girls instantly loved playing with all the bottles) it was so inspiring that i'm going to tackle my bed room next. i'm leaning towards decorating in there with mustard and blues with the already established (before i moved in browns and khakis).

and ... a front has moved in and changed the humidity to nothing. i'm in heaven. hope you are too.

September 26, 2009


so far today, i've shopped at the evil empire (wally world) to replace the toaster oven that burned out and to try and find tiny little cake pans. since i couldn't find the tiny cake pans i wanted (more on why later) i went to hobby lobby. there i was inspired to attempt brownie pops. from there to the grocery.

why all the activity? my beautiful baby sister's birthday was yesterday and we're having the family dinner tomorrow. now, my niece (ga or gigi) doesn't believe in birthdays unless you're celebrating hers. oh no, she's not spoiled at all. so in an attempt to get her blessings on a party, i attempted to explain the concept of an unbirthday (from alice in wonderland).

Alice: Unbirthday? I'm sorry, but I don't quite understand.
March Hare: It's very simple. Now, thirty days has Septem -No. wait... An unbirthday, if you have a birthday, then you -
March Hare: She doesn't know what an unbirthday is.

so, now she has told her mom that it's her birthday too. (ok, the concept was a bit much for a four-year-old - oops) so, i wanted to make little cakes for she and her sister. the little cakes turned out a bit dry but I think the brownie pops will be just the thing. now they just have to cool enough to decorate. in the mean time, baby sis will be happy with the lemon poundcake (along with barbeque, potato salad and baked beans). a good time to be had by all. plus, i get baby lovin' too.

September 24, 2009

oh...heaven. oh...dreamy.

have you seen this little beauty from rollei? i swear if i had like a job and money. one of these would be mine. mine. mine. mine. and i would pet it and love it and cherish it. *sigh*

okay - just had to share.

who doesn't love a parade?

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. ~ Thoreau

though i cannot embrace all that thoreau believed and did...well, because i am a creature of some comfort, i feel as though i've lived in walden these past months and have simplified my life. he went to the woods as an experiment where i've gone as a necessity. in that time, i've learned much and i've learned the beauty in making the most of what you have, what you can find and what comes to you naturally. i think he might be happy with that.

and as thoreau said, we all hear our very own drummer in our very own parade. the trick is to make the most of your parade. right? the best bands, the prettiest floats, and make sure there are balloons, baton twirlers and maybe a few pretty horses too. or not...i guess he wouldn't condone all that fanciness. but, again - it's your parade!!!

September 23, 2009

that's what you call an epic fail

here's the thing...not everything i cook is going to be the greatest. especially when i'm on this 'try new things' kick because i'm bored in my comfort zone. sure...sure, there have been successes - like the shrimp tacos and pound cake. but last night was probably the first epic fail where we both said, ehhhh no, never again.

i'm not sure exactly where it went wrong - i think perhaps it was using the flour tortillas and the sauce. it combined for a gummy mess. usually i credit where i got a recipe, but in this case i will stay silent. it was a popular blogger (though not a food blogger) and it could be my failure and not hers.

now, i will use the worse grammar transition ever....wait for it. anyway, chalk it up to a bad experiment and i will throw the leftovers away after i get over the guilt of feeling like it wasted food. i hate wasting food. hate it. but, that is how bad i disliked the meal.

the sun today is beautiful - like a long lost friend. it has this golden quality and when it first hit the chinaberry tree in the backyard this morning it was almost magical.

September 21, 2009

winnings, probably a bit of whining, and unwinding

i won a giveaway from backyard candle company and my two candles arrived today - can i just tell you how yummy they are. i got the lemon biscotti and grandmother's kitchen. grandmother's kitchen is already burning and is making my kitchen smell sinfully good. yum! (i got two little preview tealights too and the pumpkin spice is really putting me in the mood for fall)

thanks you all for laughing with me about friday night. it was quite the little adventure. the weekend was mostly a muddle of lots of rain and some visits with my girls. the littlest is learning to sing on her own as she watches big sister sing (i didn't know the words to 'the star spangled banner' at four - did you?) so cute.

i went to the farmer's market and probably bought the last fresh peas and butterbeans of the season. so in tribute, i fried chicken by my mom's recipe last night. i must say, the chicken was awesome but my gravy was not quite right - i rushed it.

it's been raining, like forever now - i think we've channeled seattle here - except instead of the misty rain, we're getting gutterwashers...even the sidewalks are molding because they cannot dry out. in the brief sun we had yesterday, i ran out - but, lately i've been hating my shots. i feel particularly un-mojo-ish. hopefully this will pass soon. i'm trying to shoot through it as that's the advice that i give. however, the coolest thing that is saw yesterday was a bumblebee colored, hummingbird moth. wayyyyy cool. i tried to catch some shots of it - but it moved pretty fast.

hope you're having a beautiful monday - mine was full of doing laundry, running errands, eating pizza and watching my favorite comedies.

September 19, 2009

yakkity yak

free tickets to a magic show, a town full of bass fishing rednecks, rain, and last minute plans...tell me how does this boil down to a cherry vanilla ice cream cone?

my sister called me last night and said she was given two free tickets to the illusion show last night at the new venue in town. montgomery's downtown area is undergoing a 're-vitalization' that includes a few new bars, some upgraded old buildings, and this fancy hotel with a concert hall. it was raining, i was bored, so i thought 'why not'. zipped in the shower and we headed downtown montgomery (slightly better than downtown mayberry on a saturday night). and of course it started pouring for the bazillionth time this week.

cars were everywhere - what i didn't pay attention to - the bass fisherman's tournament also had a concert at the river with the zack brown band last night - so there were a lot of young rednecks covering up the area. yeah - i said it. stereotypes become stereotypes for a reason. couple that with the families trying to get to the hotel. in downtown montgomery. land of no parking - ever. none. and rain. again.

and...don't forget those lovely new bars. because montgomery also has a number of college students that come in from troy and auburn. you know. to the big city? *snicker*

talk about traffic jam. my sister dropped me at the door because, well she's kinda sweet like that. or she wanted to torture me with dozens of children flying around while parents milled like sheep following the leader of the moment. i even had a kid try to wrestle me for my chair in the lobby. anyway i - what's my favorite word? diagress.

as we are finally seated in the nosebleed seats (the seats were free - who's complaining?) the show started, 'are y'all ready for this....' words cannot describe - they can't really. how, uhmmmm, dated this show was - straight from the 80's along with the assistant's acid washed jumpsuit, tri-toned hair and fake bosums. and the illusions weren't that bad (maybe it was the ability to see them from above maybe?) but the crowd around us got us so tickled with the "wow", "this guy is sooooo amazing", "how did he do that" (grand flourish) combined with the ushers continuously escorting people in with flashlights and standing in front so you couldn't see the end of the tricks/illusions. suffice to say, it was no chris angell or david blaine....or even david copperfield.

at intermission we left, negioated the concert goers leaving in the rain and the college students arriving at the bars. i got a scoop of cherry vanilla and my sister got strawberry cheesecake - that was worth the shower.

oh, for the record - my sister said i needed to use the word 'jankity' in the blog when i wrote it. that was a very jankity illusion act (the spencer theater of illusion) rating? thumbs down.

September 18, 2009

dancing in the rain

i liked this quote when i read it the other day and it seems fitting giving that we are being soaked by rain showers this week...and perhaps into next week.

this is one of those blogs where i've typed and erased a few times now. my brain is ricocheting around like a free play on the pinball machine. see, i just erased the rest of this blog for the fourth time. somehow i keep ending up at the same location and each time i read it, it was like....'oh, okay. so what?'

*blink, blink*

i type this mainly now because i can't decide what to do this afternoon. i have unexpected freedom and i really don't want to go to the bedroom and rearrange like i need to. i also have a ton of rearranging to do in my studio room as it is still suffering from being scattered in the move. *sigh* and, i would love to go shooting but i'm scared the weather will deteriorate at any given moment. though it was very interesting wednesday as left for the carpool line, i saw two different photographers at too different places shooting with big dslr cameras in the rain. one struggled with an umbrella that was too small and i wanted to stop and help. the other didn't appear to notice. weird.

okay - this is getting nothing done. off to go explore. i can't face the bedroom in the rain.

September 17, 2009

a little thank you

this this jar of yumminess? my beautiful christina hooked me up with this beautiful saigon cassia cinnamon and it is divine. when i opened my sweet little package last night (so sweetly wrapped by her lovie daughter) i couldn't wait to try it out this morning. i meant to take some shots of my cinnamon toast, but alas, i forgot until it was too late.

now comes the fun part, the browsing of cookbooks until i find something utterly yummy to try out with it. thank you, christina for sharing this with me.

(if you're not reading christina's blog, you're missing the warmest hugs in the world). xo

September 16, 2009

extended forecast

no, this is not a current shot as fall has not quite fallen completely here. but i see signs of it everywhere. we're stuck in this holding pattern of weather lately with rainy days punctuated by semi-colons of sunshine and dashes of wind. the acorns are starting to fall and the dogwood trees have jeweled leaves with trifecta of bright colors. a hummingbird took refuge in the rain under the eaves and smiled her thanks as we watched it rain again.

though as i type this, there is a break in the clouds yet again...

last night i dreamed of mom and hugging her tight. it felt warm and good. and i can remember in my dream that i said something to her (or to me i think) but i can't remember the lesson i murmured to myself. but it was a good feeling. i like good feelings, don't you?

economist say the recessing is ending and that spending in august was higher than it's been for a while. i hope so. i hope that people are overcoming this fear and that things get back to some kind of normalcy. even though i'm not quite sure what normal really is. do you know? i really don't know. and i think perhaps everyone doesn't know so they just kinda follow who acts like they know. just seems so silly really.

i can't figure out where i was going with this entire entry. i really can't. maybe i'm like the rain here today. in and out, up and down, back and forth. scattered with bits of sunshine. hope your bits of sunshine take over your world and make you happy and find you healthy.

September 15, 2009

dreams versus reality

dusk "I live not in dreams but in contemplation of a reality that is perhaps the future." ~~ Rilke

September 14, 2009

totally cheesing out with my mosaic this week

my contribution for mosaic monday. sadly, i've not gone out and made any shots besides the random around the house shots in a week. clearly not following the best advice i give any beginning photographer (which is shoot every day). after the panic last week of thinking my camera was stolen, i haven't had the time.

saturday i took an exam for insurance examiner - it was hard. i am a decent test taker and it took almost the complete three hours saturday. now, i hope i did okay with it. and no, it wasn't one of those, oh i think i did bad so i really did great kind of feelings - it was i really hope i did good. sunday was filled with household chores and checking on the basement cat. poor thing, he doesn't get enough attention so i made sure he was healthy and happy yesterday.

have you ever woken up on morning and hated everything that you've worked on in the previous week? i've been working on an in-service that just wasn't flowing right for me (HIPAA and the impact of ARRA - see, you're bored, right?) i think i've put my finger on the reason and after it's reviewed by the client this week, we can re-approach it and break it into two parts. the material is not the snappiest in the world anyway, no need to put the audience completely in sandman town.

so, hopefully shots and my challenge shot for LUT too. dani laid down a big gauntlet last night and i really want to stretch with this one. despite being so verbose around here...i'm really sort of shy about approaching new people so it will definitely be a giant leap.

and look at this way - i've spared you all the shots of my spider-bitten finger. about six weeks ago the tip of my left index finger was swollen and i thought i had an ingrown nail or infected cuticle. after a couple of days it got better and i didn't think of it again...until my nail started growing in all weird and bumpy. turns out, it was a spider bite (thank goodness it wasn't a brown recluse). now i have a bumpy nail growing in under my other nail and i'm having to gradually file off my other nail. ick, ick, ick. and thing is, i'm pretty friendly with my spider pals because i know they eat other insects. now, i'm not so sure they're so friendly - like charlotte.

and...i forgot the fun thing today - (other) char challenged me to draw my outfit today (my kinda selfie) and this is what happened. it wasn't pretty....believe me.

September 13, 2009

part of something bigger

there came a moment in the middle of the song when she suddenly felt every heartbeat in the room & after that she never forgot she was part of something much bigger . . . story people

reading your comments and other blogs is always a good reminder that we're all part of something bigger and it's not just the little problems in our little world. it's all of our hearts, all of our dreams, all of our wishes, all of our hopes....and yes, even all of our fears. thank you.

have a beautiful sunday.

September 11, 2009

. . . . . . .

If you surrender to the wind, you can ride it.
if you surrender to the wind, you can ride it ~~ toni morrison.


it's been one of those weeks, you know. ups and downs - highs and lows. and i'm weary and tired and as hard as i try, i'm human and scared. i feel as though everything i try just sits there and kinda flails helplessly. and it's not because i feel alone - god, everyone has been so good to me and really tries to help. they bolster my feelings, i get odd jobs to help with things...i know i'm not alone.

and i know i should keep a positive attitude. i do. let me tell you - a positive attitude is a difficult thing to keep at 3:30 in the morning. but still i plug away and keep sending applications and resumes. i'm too old, too experienced, too inexperienced, too anything. could someone please give me that magic combination of words and phrases to get someone to freaking hire me? i feel as if the past eight months have the stamp across them called 'epic fail'.

and you know those sites - monster and career builder? total b.s. i work them almost daily looking for jobs and have yet to hear back from one of the places were i applied.

two years ago, i thought my life was pretty perfect business wise, even if personally it was crap with mom being so sick (she died in november). one year ago, i saw the handwriting business wise but never thought it would last this long. i thought i had plenty of resources to tide me over.

and still, i will suck it up and 'carry on' as the saying goes. i was taught that at an early age. life is life - life is what you make it. i can either be miserable all day and dwell in my fear or i can keep fighting. today, i keep fighting.

September 10, 2009

the best

i came to loving roasted red bell pepper later in life - i can remember going to dinner with a dear friend and picking them off my plate to give them to her (what was i thinking???) but as i was dragged along kicking and screaming to expand my palate, i slowly began to love the new flavors i was tasting.

of course i'm still fairly picky when i eat, which limits my palate. i wish the taste of raw onion didn't gag me, that mustard didn't kill the taste of a dish, or that i liked more than i do...but, 15 years ago i didn't really care for basil, chickpeas, bell peppers, or weird cheeses. so i've come a long way.

the oven has been on the fritz for a while and given my current economic situation coupled with my brother's odd schedule, we haven't had the time to get it repaired. so, i've become very creative with a stovetop, crockpot, the george foreman, and the toaster oven - works.

tuesday i roasted yellow and red bell pepper on the george foreman. they charred up nicely and then i popped them in a plastic baggie for steaming the skins to make them easy to peel.

as they were steaming - i tossed a chicken breast on the grill, seasoned with a bit of dale's. oops - dale's is an alabama thing so - just season the breast with a light bit of seasoning to brown it - worcestershire, soy, whatever floats your boat and makes your mouth go 'yummy'.

slice the chicken into sandwich like slices. remove the skins from the bell pepper. if you have a bit of pesto - even yummier. take a nice sandwich roll and a cheese of choice - goat cheese with this would be soooo yummy (today though, I used up the last bit of swiss cheese).

stack up your sandwich the way you would like it and then press the sandwich in the george foreman to meld these yummy ingredients together. heaven!

September 9, 2009

abstract thoughts

inbetween the break in rain on sunday, i stopped by the old train museum in calera. before i had gone with classes - it was overcast and slightly eerie wandering around the derelicts - the burned out hulks and rusty, steel cars. weeks choked the pathways between and even the flag looked forlorn, drooping under the weight of the morning rain.

when you revisit a subject, you look for different ways to approach it. the first time, i was timid and walked around unsure what to do - students scrambled around the yard and we grouped together in small clumps. i couldn't see it because i didn't know what to see.

the second time i went i felt jaded in that superior 'been there, done that' kind of way. i looked at 'newbies' with a sort of amusement (yeah, i took that shot too - nothing new here). i didn't allow myself to really 'see' it because i shut myself off from seeing it.

this time....this time i was alone and i was afraid. and i thought to myself, this is silly. what could i possibly see that i haven't seen before. i sat there in the jeep and argued with myself. (get home, it's going to rain again. you've seen this, nothing new to see. you're by yourself, this is not a good area. finally, just get out the car - you need an abandoned shot - get it over with)

slowly i walked around, camera in hand with just the small lens on. no tripods today - it was a quick in and out. i thought about a book i bought the day before and some abstract polaroids that were grouped together in a collage. and i looked again. patterns began to blossom before me - waterfalls, stripes, colors, lines - bits and pieces of a whole.


September 6, 2009

the best laid plans

the plans were to have a girly weekend by the pool...the rain and other detours crashed that idea. and boy did it rain. all day and all night sort of rain. but today was better.

i cat-sat for a dear friend of mine and i always love stalking her garden with my camera. and then i visited a couple of my favorite spots to try things in a new way. this is after being inspired by a book i found at urban outfitters yesterday, "the polaroid book." (since i can't find a decent polaroid camera around here and uf wants $120 for their issue and a film pack - ouch)

you will be seeing a few of these over the week. today, i'll leave you with my favorite fake polas. these are from the second story window of the new carousel carving school in birmingham. i was in love but no one was at home (it is a holiday weekend afterall) - i so want to go back can see why, i'm sure.

hope you're having a great weekend so far....i'm having a dish of ice cream and going to bed. sweet dreams and finer things.

September 4, 2009


just a little drive, through the misty rain. down a country road in another county. just south of here. a pretty little road with farms and pretty houses.

no traffic really. so i could call, 'hey horsie' so they would look at me.

or not. it didn't really matter to them much. they were content in their little world.

and they probably laughed as i got back in my car and drove. through the misty rain.

(i will be out of pocket over the holiday weekend but look forward to catching up with you all again next week. have a safe and happy holiday weekend to some of you and for the non-holiday people, have a happy weekend too.)

September 3, 2009

this moment

in this moment the world is perfect. in this moment, the pugs are snoring at my feet. the sun has shown its pretty face and a butterfly is dancing on the wind. in this moment, life has balance and purpose. in this fine, fine, fine moment.

in this moment i'm surrounded by love. my mother's things, my father's handicraft, memories of those who have gone on before us but leave a legacy. in this moment, all possibilities are mine. in this moment i can close my hand around them and hold on so very tight.

in this moment peace has been given to me. and in this moment, i am truly grateful.

September 2, 2009


rainy weather allows many discoveries - the ability to entertain yourself when all of television is boring (even with 200 channels). finding unfinished project and deciding to finish them. indoor photography. and this old tea cup - i've had it for a while...guess what - it's a homer laughlin. i know. tell me about it. and what's better? i have a set of four. it makes me smile.

i've been reading this month's o magazine (quit laughing) and the articles are centered around the theme, 'you are stronger than you know'. isn't that da dang truth - you never know until times are difficult what strength you have inside. of course - tough times make strength necessary, right? i mean, who needs strength during good times when we are so bubbly happy. *snort* seems a bit obvious to me. but i digress (as usual.) but, yes - most of us never really believe in our own strength until we have to rely on it.

me, i whimper in the corner a bit and think i can't possibly do it and then i push myself off the cliff and dive in. turns out i can sometimes (well, a lot of times) channel an acapulco cliff diver and cut that water like a knife. then i wondered why i was so silly about the whole blasted issue.

where was i going with this? oh yes, discoveries. see the little pattern in the background? this is a book i discovered in one of my mom's stacks of books. she loved coffee table books - you know those big oversized books that you think no one really looks at? she would look for hours at the book stores, sometimes stalking particular books until they went on sale and she could afford them. she would go to yard sales and buy them. this one is 'the laura ashley book of home decorating' circa 1985. i fell in love with the soft green shell pattern. see, a discovery. right under my nose.

also discovered this week - tons of talented women over at the new blog. so much fun and i'm getting to know so many new people. talented photographers, writers, just three days i've been blown away. when you're over at take a few minutes on the side bar to get to know these women. i think you will be glad you did.

i wonder what else i can now to study for the insurance examiner's test. hopefully i discover that i can still run a calculator.

September 1, 2009

nasty weather

the late summer doldrums are firmly entrenched here with muggy temps and dreary skies. here's another shot from the rainy sunday - i love this old building and wish all the wires, poles and surrounding buildings weren't in it's way.

now, off to a flea market, car pool and grocery. back in a bit.