January 31, 2010

my town

a city rich in history and contrasts....these are a few that i saw today.

January 29, 2010

baby bro

he really doesn't like it much when i say baby bro - he is taller than me
and he's always protects me
and watches out for me...no matter what.

and he never wanted us to worry - even when we watched televisions shows
like cops or when he would tell us stories of him charging into dangerous situations.
he knew what he was doing.

and later when he became an instructor at the academy, we breathed a little sigh of relief...
and now...baby bro retired from the force.
and we're so proud.
proud of his service and making us safe
from the bad guys.
proud of his teaching of the next generation of people keeping us safe.
and when they presented him with the badge, weapon, gold watch and all the certificates.
i know others were proud of him too. even when they were not here to say it.

and now he's on to his next 20 at some place new...
doing what he really loves...
teaching others how to keep the world safe.

xoxoxo - love you
(but you will always be my baby bro)

January 27, 2010

the simple things


in light of the last two weeks and in recognition of the abundance i have, i remember that i'm so blessed by the simple things (won't you join christina today?) For every blogger who signed up to take part Christina and her family are donating $1 to Doctors Without Borders to help in the aid of Haiti. What a beautiful way to help and a reminder what we have...
  • a warm bed
  • a soft blanket, used by my mother, that sometimes feels like her embrace
  • buttered toast
  • a good cup of coffee to get my day going
  • the hugs of children
  • good tires on my jeep
  • co-workers that are a joy to work with
  • blue canning jars filled with purple mums and yellow lilies
  • the fingers of pink clouds that line my sunrise
  • a bowl full of red: macintoshes, honeycrisps and yams
  • houseslippers on my cold feet
  • lime scented soap
  • paints in my craft box
  • pages in my journal
  • silly laughs over a family quirk
  • a clean kitchen
  • pizza together on monday nights
  • my spring countdown
  • the feeling deep in my bones when something feels right
  • the mockingbird singing in the tree
  • the tiny curls on a fern

  • and when i feel sorry for myself - i will remember there is always someone to help
  • and when i feel grumpy - there is always someone that i can make smile
  • and when i'm angry - there is opportunity to make right
  • to remember, change begins with me.

January 26, 2010

fly away

tomorrow i will write along with christina about simple things. i'll do the linky thing tomorrow, but most of you know by now that i think she's the bee's knees. a girl crush if you will - or do they call them bloggy crushes? *shrugs*
i feel the ocean calling my name. i was convinced that i was driving there this weekend...but it is scheduled to rain. boo. boo. boo. i feel the need to get out of town and just stretch my wings. point the car somewhere and just go....it still can happen. i wonder how i would feel about the beach in the rain. i think i would have it to myself.
we are experiencing the 'january thaw' - that singularity that happens sometimes when there is a little burst of spring in the midst of winter. i think it's mother nature reminding us (and helping us) remember that spring is coming. she is. and she will be wearing a halo of daffodils and tulips. how can 53 days seem so long?
*trying wings on for size* why is john denver echoing in my head? (fly away) they seem to fit well. we will see what happens.

January 24, 2010

in review

for those that wanted an update on the art journal....(i didn't draw the bird - it's part of a collage)
art journal

it goes by fits and spurts - mostly because i can only get to it late at night. this is a combination of four or five days. the weekends have been clogged with responsibilities. hopefully this weekend i can focus on being creative.

for those that wanted an update on the 365....so far so good. though there have been a couple of days i wouldn't show anyone and just did the functionary shot.




the weekend went by much too quickly. as did the week. i kept the girls while mommy and daddy were out of town. the light was bad as it stormed most of the weekend. the shot was from naptime today when ga finally got some sleep. last night she insisted on waiting on me to go to bed and then woke me up at 2:00 a.m. to let me know that i was snoring. *blush* (actually her words were 'you sound like a monster') ahhh, yes, the charm of a five year old.

they both have perfected the art of crocodile tears. i try to stand firm but there are some days i just pick my battles.

so....tonight i think i will get to bed early. i need it.

January 22, 2010

'cause i'm a copycat (and i just wanna)

jeanine and hulaseventy have done lists this week and, i gotta tell you. i'm a girl that loves lists. i make them all the time. besides..have you seen their blogs? they're both enough to make this girl go all swoony and lust over ttv and polaroid cameras for long periods of time. i haunt the flea market and wonder if i could afford to go back to film on any kind of semi-permanent basis. plus...there's that whole no more polaroid film thing...(though i've heard there might be a chance of a miracle) *sigh* anyway...

what was i talking about?


lists help me get my job done. without lists the tedious, technical aspect of herding cats on my new job might be nigh to impossible. well, they're not really cats persay, but they sure act like them lately. you know the cats that are sitting on a porch full of rocking chairs (or out front at cracker barrel)

you will see that hulaseventy has made several lists (i really like the music one and the things that she's accomplished lately - i'm all about accomplishments and checking off the lists). jeanine today made a rather swoony list of traits. i think i let out a slight sigh at the mention of john cusack and high fidelity. (i'm still crushing on john after all these years)

so, how can i be original while totally, totally, totally ripping off fellow bloggers. (*wince) difficult right, because, well in admitting that i'm unoriginal, it really takes the wind out of the sails of originality. hmmmmmm i'm just going to mix it up a bit and see what comes out.

char's totally random list (in threes because i like three...it's a magic number)

the last three songs i listened to (made random through the magic of ipod)
  • pride and joy - stevie ray vaughn
  • this old heart of mine - the isley brothers
  • dixie chicken - little feat

three songs that you would probably be shocked to find on my ipod (*hangs head)

  • key largo - bertie higgins
  • she's a bad mama-jama - carl carlton
  • get back - ludicris
last three accomplishments
  • sent out the last of the workgroup invitations
  • figured out how to set up voting on outlook
  • worked on my art journal/uploaded my daily photos to flickr
last three things i consumed (food is on my mind as it's getting near lunch)
  • craisins
  • coffee
  • orange juice
three things i need to do this weekend
  • wash clothes
  • go to the post office
  • babysit
three things i should do this weekend, but probably will not have time
  • get the oil changed
  • wash my car
  • clean the catbox
three things i would rather be doing than all of this
  • sitting on the beach, watching the sunset, with a ice cold drink and a smokin' hot guy
  • sitting at a cafe in paris, sipping a hot cuppa with a smokin' hot guy
  • sitting in a palazzo in tuscany, sipping vino with a .... well, you get the picture
three things i'm totally ashamed that i watch on television
  • millionaire matchmaker
  • tough love
  • vampire diaries
three things i probably should watch to be cool but i don't
  • lost
  • gossip girl
  • something on discovery
three things i want this time next year
  • a paid off vehicle (this is totally do-able)
  • a more creative spirit (working on that)
  • a better sense of my new plan on 'living' (working on that too)
and....a random list of thoughts
  • i wonder if i can make do with the cottage cheese lunch again or will i break down and buy something? i caved...i had poppy seed chicken casserole and banana puddin'
  • why didn't i check my calendar before getting dressed this morning?
  • do i have to go to my one o'clock dressed like this? *sigh*
  • i wonder if the doobie brothers named themselves now, would they still pick that name? (long train runnin' just came on my ipod)
  • i wonder how long i can type lists instead of sending the ballot out?
  • probably not much longer....geez
  • i so don't want cottage cheese.
  • *sigh*
  • i wonder how high they're going up with this building, it's beginning to block all of my light from outside.
  • is it five o'clock yet. *damn*
  • ohhhh. shoes.

January 21, 2010

i watch the stars from my window sill...

(taken with 100mm macro lens and 400 iso)

i've been buying my own sunshine this week as there have been too many gray days in a row to suit me. wouldn't it be nice if we could have our personal iso button? and when we needed a boost of light, just turn that sucker up?

i think i could go for that. i do think that for sure.

flowers are one of the things that make me smile for no particular reason. other things in that category are: lacy branches against a clear blue sky, the tiny sliver of a new moon, kitty paws, doggy smiles, the first spoonful of ice cream, the smell of bread baking, baby toes, sugar cubes, postcards, old glass jars, fluffy clouds and reflections in the water.

just typing those things made me smile. i like that.

in my art journal last week i wrote a longer list, but these are the ones that come to mind. oh, i forgot bluebirds. how could i forget them?

i've also have been obsessed lately with the weepies and the pogues. right now, 'the world spins madly on is playing' and it tugs at my heart. a friend mentioned it in his blog this week - a bit of serendipity to suit my day. another friend is grateful for another day with her beloved. and i was moved. because it's not the big things - it's the little bitty things that make my life good.

that and good coffee.

January 19, 2010

bitty bits and pieces

it was a good day. did you have a good day too?

i'm e.x.h.a.u.s.t.e.d in the very best of ways - the kind where you know that you did a good job. i like that. i work for the state medicaid agency and am working on a new initiatives on electronic health information exchange. today was the kick off - something i've been working toward since i started the job. it feels good to finally 'start'.

what else? i cooked a bit this weekend (as you saw) so today i'm enjoying leftovers. aren't leftovers great on a day like this?

i'm reading an article on 'secrets to a happy marriage' and smiled at this cute couple who said, '...we tolerate and accept every part of each other's personalities. that, and i let her go shopping.' adorable, right? but the word 'tolerance' - in light of the holiday yesterday, it amazes me still how many people are still so intolerant of others. skin, religion, size, wealth....and there are many more dividers. what would happen this week if we all tore down at least one barrier that we have. it would be beautiful. content of character....that's where it's at baby.

i'm always inspired by real simple - if you have read me any length of time, you've probably figured that out by now....and how they find new uses for everyday stuff (this month it's a tennis ball). do you do that - what's a new use for something you have around the house. and don't give me canning jars for vases (hahaha) because i do that already. my favorite is using a dryer sheet to 'unstatic' my hair in the winter.


there are great artists that are donating their work to crafthope to aid haiti. sometime today (i think) a 'choose your own' option is going up from my etsy site. if there is something you may be interested in that you do not see, let me know and i will post it.

Craft Hope Spreading seeds of hope one stitch at a time

there are also many other options to donate as more and more people donate their work to this cause.

"be the change you wish to see in the world." - ghandi

"For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.

Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?

And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!" - matthew 25:35-40

peace and love no matter your beliefs

January 17, 2010

the weekend in yellow and blue

(card by andie edwards - 'spreading hope')

dinner at home for three**
(shrimp and grits -- see below)

mise en place

if sunshine doesn't come to you....make your own

even southern girls get the blues....canning jar blues that is

ladies in waiting

full of wishes and dreams

**Cheesy Shrimp & Grits

1 lb shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut in half
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped finely
6 green onions, sliced thin (mostly just the white part)
1 clove garlic mined (you can use dried if you're out of fresh)
1 can ro-tel tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup old fashioned grits
2 tablespoons butter (i used olive oil instead)
1 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
1 cup jack cheese, shredded (i used the four-cheese mexican blend)

chopped bell pepper and slice green onions. soften vegetables in a skillet with olive oil or butter - do not brown as it will spoil the appearance of your casserole. add garlic to season (do not scorch garlic as it will ruin the taste of your dish by making it bitter)

in the meantime, bring broth to a boil and stir in grits. cook according to package directions (do not use instant or fast cook grits). peel, devein and cut shrimp in half. open tomatoes (do not drain) and put in casserole dish with shrimp. add softened vegetables to the casserole dish and stir. once grits are cooked, remove from heat and add approximately 3/4 of each of the cheese and stir until smooth. pour grits over the shrimp and vegetable mixture and stir together. top with remaining cheese and bake at 350 F until bubbly (about 30 minutes). serve warm with crusty bread and a salad if desired.

January 16, 2010


style (of all sorts)





January 14, 2010

evening thoughts

it seems that i'm attracted to warm peaches and reds this week. part of that could be that i only see the sunset lately as i dash around. and of course i had to throw in the now very dried roses. i took out my 100mm - i haven't played with it in a while and it felt good.

i'm making my way back through 'simple abundance' - there is so much goodness in that book and in light of the situation in haiti, it really hits home with me to be grateful for what i have. i know many people have already blogged about it so, i will not go on about it. but, i send prayers to all that are suffering.

hug someone close to you - human or furbaby. they probably need it as much as you do.

January 13, 2010


last night i walked under a clear blue and red sky. from the building to the deck...a total of 50 steps...more or less. probably more. 50 steps to the elevator. less than 50 to the car.

another day, another eight hours gone to the giant, grand scheme of things.

night falls in a quiet hush to make ready for another day.

January 12, 2010


i'm always humbled when talented artists share their work with me. this beautiful stained glass ornament is from eow at mindwhisperings. i love her photography and work. i hang it where i can admire it everyday. thank you.

this lovely is from kim at a box of chocolates. she has recently ventured into making pendents and i so adored this sweet little bird pendent. today i found it in the mail along with a sweet little tea rest and some sugars. isn't it the sweetest? i can't wait to wear it tomorrow.

thank you to two beautiful artists and their work. you ladies are awesome.

breakfast of champions

somehow the refrain of that book title keeps looping in my head "no one cares what you had for breakfast" and i've started this post now four six separate times.

so i think in simplest terms the universe is telling me that i have nothing to say today. *shrugs* which feels very odd to me as i think of myself as having a lot to say most of the time.

i will listen to the universe today and will back up and listen some more. i will also leave you with the best quote that i've read today: 'courage is to never let your actions be influenced by your fears. arthur koestler

January 11, 2010

moving at the speed of a bounding jackalope

time has exponentially sped up over the weekend and into the work week
and i wonder where it all went. the weekend disappeared too quickly (but for those of you interested - i now smell like coconuts and lime thanks to a gift card). work has suddenly bounded into full sprint with the new year - for which i'm both glad and nervous about at the same time.
i will visit but it will be slower most days as work piles up over the next few months.
and see the tulips? those bits of yellow sunshine promise me that it's only about 66 days until spring - spring - spring. yellow makes me happy - it does. it sings and gladdens the very depth of my soul. plus, those bobbins you see there in the jar - i found them in a store all bunched and huddled up for one little dollar. they had to come home with me.
so - the condensed version of the weekend: shop, movie, yummy pizza, sleep, grocery, cook, clean, wash, family time, movie, sleep work. *whew*
how was yours? did you do anything crafty or shutterbuggy?

January 9, 2010


it's cold amost everywhere north of the equator i think...cold i'm telling you. and even as i think about getting outside today, i'm wondering about my sanity.

i hope you're having a beautiful weekend. i'm going out and about so i will not go stir crazy. besides, i have two gift cards burning a hole in my pocket.

hope your afternoon is filled with plenty of snuggles.

January 8, 2010

silly is as silly does

impending front (07:365)

i'm one of those weird hybrid kind of people...well, maybe not so much hybrid but forced into a niche because i can't make a living (yet) on art. so i was taught from a very young age that i should have a profession to fall back on and then i could make art my hobby. i think my mom was this way too - she did the most beautiful crafts - ceramics, painting, handmaking barbie clothes, all of those sorts of things. but she never believed she was an 'artist' - she saw herself more as a copyist. (is that a word?)

over the past three years i've worked hard on developing my artistic side that i had repressed for a number of years. and now have been able to say, 'yes, i'm a photographer' without qualifying it. i'm sure many of you know what i'm talking about there.

at my old job, the owners wife was a painter so my artistic side (slightly wacky bohemian aspect of my nature - grin) was fully integrated and embraced. my office was a mini-art gallery and we would regularly discuss art in the break room.

here...well, so not the case. we are a serious government agency doing serious government work. my musical garland has hung in my office about a week now and everyone that comes by stops and stares. and then turns to me with a quizzical face - 'what is it?'

it's a garland - you know a decoration.

'but what does it do?'

nothing - it's just pretty.

'oh' and they vaguely nod their head.

i guess they don't 'get' my dinosaur robot or bendy alligator either. *shrugs* as ogden nash said, life is just not that serious.

January 7, 2010

frankly my dear...

music and romance

there are too many things running through my head today - i think the artic chiller sweeping through the state has taken over my brain and has put it into hyperdrive...or something like that.

little things seem to be irritating me today - more so than other days when i tell myself just to chill out. theses things include - total inconsideration of my calendar when it comes to scheduling meetings, music and captivas on blogs, the drone of the construction seems to be at a higher pitch today, the general lack of length on most tops unless it's designated a 'tunic' and then it's almost knee length, obnoxious football fans instead of good fans, weather forecasts, kayne, trump, and diddy - not together - separately, dry heat, and my bladder.

yeah...i need to get over myself. i know. these are all part of my journey. it feels better just to admit it instead of holding it in.

so far the 365 project is six days old and i've only struggled one day...yesterday. i will admit it's a lot harder on week days as i tend to do one of four to six things a day: wake-up, race around like a demon to get ready for work, work, come home as it's getting dark, throw together some kind of dinner, relax, and go to bed. but, i'm pressing on. the more fun part of my days this week have been consumed with my art journal that i started. it feels right now like the writings of a middle-school girl...but, as that's the last time i took 'art' lessons it makes sense to me that i would re-live that period of my life. next thing you know i'll macrame something and maybe move on to papermache.

i'm going to totally redesign my blog sometime soon. not sure exactly how it's going to turn out but i hope it's less chaotic than it is now. that too is irritating to me today...how chaotic my blog looks.

i made a version of tyler florence's slow cooker pork barbecue this week and it was yummy. no photographs though as the pork looks much like a lump when the dry rub and then when it was ready, we devoured it like wolves (yes it was that good). i rubbed the butt (yes, the child in me laughs as i type that) and put it in a slow oven for a bit to let it begin cooking. then, i moved the pork to the slow cooker with a layer of sliced onions and just enough water to cover the pork 3/4 of the way up. let it cook slowly until the meat is done and falls apart. gently shred the pork with two forks and serve warm over hamburger buns with your favorite barbecue sauce. tyler suggests topping it with coleslaw - but i'm an alabama girl and we have our coleslaw on the side.

dry rub:

2 T chili powder

2 T kosher salt

2 T black pepper

2 T dried oregano

2 T paprika

2 T celery seeds

3-4 T garlic powder

January 6, 2010

a sad realization about myself...confessions of a sam's clubber

i have a confession. i'm a secret hoarder. *hangs head* not the scary kind like they have on television these days (don't run and sell me out now) but the kind that has to have ten cans of ro-tel tomatoes and five packs of chili mix in her cabinets. yeah.

i realized how bad it has become this weekend when i went to sam's with my brother and i put a case of ro-tel tomatoes in the cart. he looked at me and said, 'you know we have about four cans at the house, right?' i blinked. nooooooooooo, we couldn't. (turns out he was right)

but it seems i only pick certain items to hoard: french's brown gravy mix (yes, i can make my own gravy but this is hold over from my childhood - think of it as my blue box mac & cheese), ro-tel tomatoes, tomato paste, canned corn (another childhood thing when corn was about the only veggie i would eat), cream of mushroom soup, and taco seasoning.

so, if you come to my house on any given day...i can make you either spaghetti, tacos or the best green bean and corn casserole you ever ate. just sayin'

January 5, 2010

thank yous, sign ups and assorted silly fun

a little surprise this week and i will think it as my 12th night gift from sweet nicole. it lifts my heart in melody as i work. thank you.

and...for followers/contributors of the lens.us.together blog - it's not too late to contribute to the calendar! i think it would be totally cool to have a collected body of work to offer as a calendar to the group and one lucky person will win a free calendar. send us your favorite shot of 2009 to lensustogether at g mail dot com.

(don't forget to sign up for secret cupid...)

a pink blanket

winter morning (04:365)

i'm grateful for winter, and though i complain and fret over a bitter cold that we are not used to...i look up and whisper thank you.

thank you for the winter that strips the trees bare and thank you for the dawn's pink sky so the branches dance dizzily in contrast. they bend and sway in the breeze that travels down their spines. and in these moments when i can see that beauty, i'm not cold but, am warmed by wonder that is something greater than me. they are so tall and i am just a short speck. the sheltering sky that has protected an untold, uncountable number of others who have also looked up and saw the branches.

people that stopped and looked for that moment and people that only glanced while they hurried on.
were they happy - comforted - content ... or were they consumed by burdens they could not share.
what echoes live on in those branches?
i stop and i wonder why...what...when.
the answers that may never really come and still i accept that fact, though it never stops me from wondering.

and patty griffin sings on...somewhere beyond the bitter end is where i want to be.
and though i'm not at that place, i remember it - bare and barren.
and then i remember the pink skies that serve as blankets in the cold.

i climb into the blue jeep and head downtown. the radio silence surrounds me.
today it is the perfect sound of nothing but the fan of the heater.
and...it is enough. just that is enough..and the memory of pink skies and branches.

January 4, 2010

thoughts on a almost snowy day

(photographed via iphone)
...the nephew is doing well - thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers. in the meanwhile, the younger nephew is enjoying unlimited access to rice krispie treats and csi. i left him sleeping this morning but he's now with his other aunt and uncle and probably up to his elbows in a pug, a boston and two girl cousins....a very happy boy i'm sure. hopefully, his older brother will get to leave the hospital this afternoon if the kidney stone finishes passing.

they have forcast that dread thing...snow. while i know a lot of you are thrilled with this southern rarity, i'm not among them. call me the snow grinch if you will - i just dislike the absence of driving common sense during any time a flake dares appear. i am; however, fully prepped with the requisite bread and milk, so no worries. i'm also quite the girl scout in that i planned a menu this week that included three soups and slow cooker barbeque.

it's officially so cold her that my hands have shrunk so that my rings keep spinning around on my fingers - that's too cold people. i cannot wear jewelry that annoys me - part of the whole reason i do not wear earrings (a long history of being on the telephone for work broke me of that habit) or clunky bracelets...and that's sad because i love a bracelet.

my poor roses greeted me this morning with drooping heads and i never thought they were more beautiful. i wish i could be so beautiful in my aging as these - somehow my wrinkles never quite look as lovely...ah me.

hope you're having a wonderful first week. be sure to check out the giveaway on lens.us.together. (as well as cheesy cupid)

January 1, 2010

day 1

well, the good news folks - we survived 2009. for some of us it was by the skin of our teeth and it looked bleak for a while but, most folks would say that a day you can wake up to is better than the alternative. (i'm sure we all may argue that at one time or another so...just sayin')

so, following that logic - a new year that you can wake up to must be even better. what you're looking at is the state flower of alabama, the camellia. the beautiful thing about a camellia (besides the pretty colors, varieties, etc) is that it blooms in the winter. isn't it great when something so beautiful can bloom under harsh circumstances? come on, any old flower can bloom with it's beautiful and temps are in the moderate zone, but this one blooms when it's 20 and 30 outside (that's fahrenheit folks.) so i'm just going to picture myself as a camellia for a while if it's cool with you.

it's also my first shot in my (da-da-dum) 365 that i've committed with the nagging, *ahem* cajoling that julie did. she promised few rules and one of them was that i only had to shoot every day, not show every day. so...i can live with that...because i will get really tired of myself if all i shoot are things that bore me. ehhh, we will see how it holds out.

speaking of photography projects. have you seen how our little lens.us.together has grown? 102 followers ladies (and gent). i'm always amazed at the number of people that participate and then how it has just blossomed. you ladies (and gent) rock the house. someone told me on good authority that we're cooking up something special to celebrate #100(+2).

they say that whatever you are doing at midnight on 1/1 will follow you through the year. me - i was on the top of a parking deck downtown watching fireworks. i'm not sure how that translates, but i was with people that i love so i will hold on to that part.