About Me

My photo
This is my journey. This is what I see. I am a wife, a mother, an artist. I am on His path.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Happy Birthday Peanut

I have had more memory feeds about you in the past month on social media.

  All the costumes.

All the interesting people.

All the glamour.

All the lights.

I miss seeing your bubbly self around the house. I hope you have some sparkles on your birthday under that beautiful western sky.

I love you.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Scents of Smell

The lines have been drawn.



A lot has changed over the last eighteen months since I went back to school. I think the biggest one I am noticing is my scents of smell. 

Yes. I wrote that correctly. 

My scents-itivity has gone haywire and it directly impacts my breathing. 

Tall Man has taken on a new hobby - one that has never bothered me in the past. 

... 5x3" Lubricating Gun Oil Field Wipes Air Rifle Shotgun Cleaning | eBay

The smell of this now leaves me breathless. So, Tall Man's solution is to add an air freshener to the mix. Not just any air freshener. For some strange reason he chose strawberry banana....

This is not helping the issue.

I finally had to speak to him this morning and suggest a change of plan. He will allow me to choose a smell of my choice....

...and in the interim... 


Tall Man is helping the neighborhood smell better.

We don't want it to go to waste...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Searching For Supermom

Here I go.

I am going back to school.

You heard me.
I am really going to do it.

I have applied.
I have been accepted.
I have spoken to advisors........


What the h&!! am I doing?

I may need my cape back.
I need to be organized.
I need to meet deadlines.

I need Art Classes?

Deep breathing exercises.

Fetal position.

Additional hours in the day.

I think I need a super hero cape......
.......it is in the closet somewhere.

I Used To Be A Supermom is where this all started.
The realization that I was failing.
Failing? Is that right?

No. Older??  Let's not go there either.

I have a week to find that cape.
School starts in my classroom in a week.
Classes start online and at the university in a week and a half.

I can do this...but I am sure I will be ranting a lot!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Adventures with the Man Child - Senior Pictures with Ben Shirk!

The difference between getting photos for girls and boys. Girls love to dress up, put on make-up, do the foo foo thing.....

        .......boys, ah, no.  I really didn't know what to expect with the Man Child. He is always behind the curtain on stage or up in the tech booth pushing buttons and switches.  He does not like to be in the limelight AT ALL.  Then the Blue Hair announces, "It's picture time! It IS your senior year and we WILL get photos!"  The look on his face....well, there was no look. It was that mouth hanging open, blank stare thing with small utterance of, "Wha.....no, nope, don't wanna......"

Man Child is the one that always faces backwards in our family photos.  He told me that he hasn't brought home the envelope from school pictures for the past seven years.....huh, that explains why I have no pictures of him!

I gave Ben Shirk of Shirk Photography a call*.  We talked about fifteen minutes in the initial call. Ben does a great job getting a feel for what you are looking for, but most important, the personality and likes of his subject.  We even received a questionnaire for Man Child to fill out with his likes and dislikes listed. In his personality profile for Ben, Man Child said his least favorite feature was.....his face.  This should have been a red flag right there.  I was a little nervous. I really didn't know what to expect out of the Man Child.  I had this image in my head of a mass lump in the middle of the photography studio.....he's a boy! We should poke him with a stick....

By the way....this is child number two for me at Ben's studio.  Frog had a BLAST at her senior photo session (she graduated in 2012). She saw a photo that Ben did with a couch in the middle of a huge field and the princess power clicked.....she had to have her photos there.  He captured exactly what she wanted....vintage!

So, off we went.

We were greeted in studio, bright and early with everything the Man Child owns. We learned from that experience with Frog....take everything, and just a few more props. Nope, take a lot of props. If you like it, if you collect it, take it....you might just use it.

Ben has an awesome eye to put whatever you bring into a situation.  We brought about twelve possibilities of complete outfits for a four outfit session.  He started asking what were favorites of the Man Child and shifting a moving layers around.  We had our final four outfit choices and the ideas were clicking in Ben's head.

The morning was gorgeous and we set out the door of the studio immediately to catch the incredible clouds in the sky.

I do need to interject the sadness of the trip ..... the one "prop" we had hoped to have with us....the Man Child's "new" truck.

The "new" truck was left at home for the photo shoot.

He has worked hard to get this truck in the driveway, and we thought it was up and running....until the fuel pump started leaking. We determined it wasn't safe for him to drive it the thirty miles to Wilton, but Ben had some ideas of places he knew had old cars and trucks parked in fields.

We set off for one farm and hit.......the mother load!  There were Internationals everywhere! Man Child had his pick of a dozen vehicles and pieces sitting around the farmer's pastures.

We even had an audience.
It was International Heaven in the middle of a sheep pasture! Ben seems to have a great relationship with his neighbors in Wilton.  He told me he only found this site a year or so ago. There are hidden treasures all over....if you just slow down and look.  The thing that slowed him down? A chimney standing by itself in a pasture. That is when he saw all of the trucks...what a find! 

Talk about commitment to your client....Ben was willing to
get down and dirty in the sheep poo to get that perfect shot!
Ben was always looking for the color....the textures....
...the angles....to fit his subject's personality!

What did I tell you about those clouds!
It was a perfect day!
Always showing those great shots to Man
Child as we went along...love the attention
to detail and the quest for feedback!
We got some other great shots in different locations, along with a "costume change" in the truck before we headed back to the studio for some of the more traditional shots.

Man Child all suited up!  Thank you
to Men's Wearhouse for a great suit!
We got a few traditional shots to make the Blue Hair in me and the Yearbook happy....and then it was back to some fun shots again.  Ben was constantly on the move, shifting lights, chairs, pianos.....

It was hard to get a shot that
Ben wasn't a blur of motion.

My novice shot of the action....

"Hey - let's stand on the
piano for the next shot!" 

How about some moody jazz shots....
or some jazzy mood shots!
.....and for a finale.....do you want to do anything else?  A trampoline......
      ......what Man Child doesn't want to jump on a trampoline in a suit!

Time to get comfy again and pack everything up. Man Child and I set out for a quick lunch and about an hour later received a text that the photos were ready for viewing.  An hour!  This is one of those awesome perks the Ben is offering for time.  Time that Man Child didn't have to take off work again. Time that I didn't have to lose from vacation....precious time.

It was very difficult to narrow down the photos that we wanted to keep. If I could afford ALL the images, I would have them. Every one a piece of art...and they were still in raw form.  I can't wait for that email that the proofs are ready.  To see all of the images we picked in a clean format with some fun Photoshop opportunities in a couple of the shots.  And I can't wait to see the new piece of art for my wall.

Man Child - I hope you had fun stepping out of your comfort zone for a day. I hope this isn't a once in a lifetime event for you. You need to step into the spotlight a little more often.  You are a bright light in my life.


Thank you for helping my son step out from behind the theatre curtain to show off a little of his sunshine in the lens of your camera. You have a gift in bringing out individual personalities in your portraits.  After the fun of the photo shoot, your patience is gold, dealing with crazy Blue Hair Mamas and what they want and what they can budget for.  You make the selection process fun and easy. I wish I could get every single image that you took because they are all winners in my photo album.  Thank you, thank you, thank you..... for the most wonderful day in your studio. I know the Man Child had a blast.

The Blue Hair Wannabe

*By the way....I love going to Shirk Photography! Check out his website and his images online by clicking on the studio link highlighted.

Ben Shirk is located in Wilton, Iowa and is a three time PPA Iowa Photographer of the Year and a three time PPA International Photographer of the Year.  In other words......he is fabulous!

A big thank you to Ben Shirk for allowing me to photograph and blog the Man Child's adventures in today. It is a great opportunity and, I think one of my favorite things to do, is to watch Ben work.

His creative force is massive.
His smile is infectious.
He is an artist with his camera!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Citizenship 101 Taught By A Child

I hate crowds.

Well, maybe hate is a strong word.  If there is an event where there is a large crowd, I will usually be at home, in a crowd of markers and pencils.

This 4th of July, we had plans to relax a little......until.....

Frog finally found an apartment! We looked at calendars and tried to coordinate a time to get stuff from Iowa.......all the way over to Nebraska.

As the holiday approached, I asked Tall Man if he would take a small break and drive out with me.....honestly, so he could lift all the heavy stuff!

We also surprised Frog with PUPPY!

So happy together......Puppy was glued to Frog the whole time!
I stuck around to help with cleaning and putting some of Frog's things away.  Frog and her beau decided I had to go see the celebrations downtown.  Did I mention that it was the Fourth of July?  And did I mention that Frog lives in "America's Small Town 4th of July City" otherwise known as Seward, Nebraska?

We walked downtown to check out the food, the crafts, the food, vendors, the food, events at the bandshell,  the food, and the highlight was ...... the parade!

I do love a parade.

I love the people watching of a parade,
but I still hate the crowds.

There were some very obnoxious teens and more obnoxious parents, so we walked the parade route.  I knew I wanted to get pictures of this event and blog about it.  We stopped in an open spot, with a nice view of all of the floats!

...and this! We haven't quite figured this guy out yet.
It was all the normal parade stuff. Firetrucks, cars with grand marshals, pretty girls, and....

....this! I wonder if she went beyond peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for this award!

Then I saw her.  See her in the picture above too?

She waved at the parade as it passed by, she chatted with other kids waiting for candy to be thrown, she bartered with other kids so she could get different candies, or maybe her favorite candies.....the joy in her smile, the wonder in her eyes, the happiness of a parade.

What she did next though......
She stood out on the street, gathering, collecting the treasures that were thrown and then she walked back to the curbside and.....

.......gave it all away.....

...again and again.

This is what it means to be a neighbor.
This is what it means to be a friend.
This is compassion.

This is citizenship.
This is America.

I have tears, even now as I write this.
This little girl stirred a passion in me.....
       .......to give without any thought of self.....
         .......to love my neighbor, even if they are a stranger to me.

I bent down and told her mother that she should be so proud of her daughter. She is a very special soul.  Her mom explained that she is actually fifteen years old and she is a special needs child.

I corrected the mom.

Her daughter is a very SPECIAL child!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

It's Raining Deer

Two weeks ago, whilst on vacation, I get a phone call that the Man Child killed a deer.

My first thought was.....

......CRAP! He was in my car, wasn't he!

As my blood pressure was escalating, I calmly asked about the extent of the damage to the vehicle....
...and, oh yes......is Man Child alright.

"What do you mean, damage to the vehicle?  I didn't say he HIT the deer. I said that the Man Child KILLED a deer."

Okay. I guess I had vacation brain, or something. Isn't that the same thing? I know that it is not deer season, so no tags have been acquired and no shotguns have discharged......

I'll bite then......the story went like this:

Man Child was driving home from work at oh-dark-early in the morning, and a cute little deer was standing in the road.  The cutie patootie was just standing there, in the middle of the road, minding his own business.  I am confident that if there was a mirror available, he would have been admiring his lovely little four-point rack he was sprouting.

Man Child slowed the car.
The deer stood...still minding his own business.
Man Child rolled closer, the gravel crunching under the tires
of my mighty V-Dub.
The deer stood, holding firm to his little piece of roadway.....

Man Child rolled down the window, leaned his head out quietly.....
........and yelped with all his might,


It frighted the poor dear (ha, did you see the switch in the letters from deer to dear?) so badly that he leapt into the air and promptly hopped, skipped, and jumped OVER the bridge.

He plummeted to his death onto the highway below.

The strangest part of this story was, Tall Man was returning home via said highway below, and witnessed the strange phenomena of the deer falling over the bridge.

What are the chances!?!

Man Child as Robin Hood way back when...
Well, I will tell you the chances......

Bambi's girlfriends were standing on the same corner this morning, obviously up to no good.

Man Child, once again, rolls slowly to a stop.
No flinch from Bambi's girlfriends......
Man Child creeps forward.
He must have been using his cloaking device....
He rolls down the window and with the same yelp as before, hollers, "DEER!"

You guessed it......
Jane Doe Number One takes a flying leap over the bridge.

Man Child said it was like watching a slow motion re-enactment of the previous incident.  The sweet thing tried quickly to correct herself, flipping in the air.  She must have thought she could flip around and grab onto the ledge of the bridge.  She forgot a vital piece of information though......

.......deer do not have thumbs!

Man Child quickly called Tall Man and a nice policeman.
He had dreams of venison jerky from this one.
She didn't hit hard at all......and then.....

......she jumped up and ran up the hill, leaping to safety over the fence.  The boys searched for a bit, but never did find her.
Denied venison once again.

The message here?

Watch out folks.....
.......it's raining deer in Iowa!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Preferred Language


We all love filling them out....don't we?

Do you ever feel a little twitchy as you fill in line after line of what is "expected"?  The stress of some of the questions....and the answers we want to give.

Marital Status: Happily

Ethnicity:  Why do I have to be Hispanic or Non-Hispanic?
Why can't I be Anglo European?

Preferred language:

Koine Greek?
Pig Latin?
Swear Like a Pirate?

Any more, if you list some obscure language, chances are the establishment might actually pull the rabbit out of their hat and have someone who speaks that language.  We have become a global society.

So what is the winning answer of Preferred language is........


What do you think that will get me?