Monday, March 30, 2009


Today's challenge from Shuttersisters was to let our hearts lead as we set out with our cameras. I'm still a newbie but what drew me to photography was my heart. A desire to capture the beauty that moves my soul. At times, a need to seek beauty and find healing when the heart feels too much. Right now I am drawn to images of spring and new life. It is always so heartening to discover beauty in the most unlikeliest places . . . tiny purple buds nearly lost in the unmown grass and weeds. 
Or a dandelion discarded by a child at play . . . 
And ALWAYS the pure, innocence of my children's eyes. 

Today after picking up Big D from school, we took snacks and milk to the park. The skies were dark and it was cool. After a hurried snack, we explored the trail and took the above pictures. What tugged at my heart strings was holding my sweet babes' warm little hands, collecting all their flower-offerings and sharing with them all the little signs that the earth is preparing to renew its splendor. Listening for frogs, blowing dandelion fluff, finding strawberry vines crawling along the ground . . . 

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"Yum" and other Assorted Thoughts

So, sad. It's gone. I'd go for another piece! The list of ingredients in this cake are slightly horrifying. You just know that something with that much butter, sour cream, cream cheese, chocolate and sugar HAS to be divine. I baked this cake in all its glory for my mother's birthday. I like to fancy myself a baker of birthday cakes . . . in fact, I need to begin thinking about Little Sis' 3rd birthday and party coming up. This year, her birth date falls on Easter so a Egg Hunt theme party is in the works if I can get off my duff and finish the invites already. 

My parents visit was nearly painless. Kids were out of their heads which is to be expected. We made a trip to the zoo, multiple parks and kinda lounged around.
Like the monkey pic? My little monkeys love the monkeys . . . he, he. Our zoo is under major renovations, making room for lions and hyenas, oh my. We are lucky to have such a fine zoo close to home. We make frequent trips with our annual pass and don't feel bad cutting a visit short for afternoon naps, etc.It was lovely having extra kid-watchers around while out and about. I was able to take a few pictures without worrying about the kids falling in the duck ponds are running amuck in some other way. Still experimenting with Elements. Very fun and somewhat addicting. My idea of a perfect afternoon? The chocolate cake, hot coffee and quiet to learn more on and fiddle with photos. Ah. Lovely. 

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring Break Hiatus

My folks are in town for a long weekend. More photos and thoughts later -- for now, a clandestine blog entry while the grandparents are putting together puzzles with the tots. 
These flowers were part of a birthday celebration for my mother, complete with a scrumptious 3-layer chocolate cake that is guaranteed to deliver an immediate heart attack:) 
I'd like to be profound but must sign off as the puzzles are being put away . . . 

Tuesday, March 17, 2009



Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune -- without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me. Emily Dickinson

It's been a long while since I've come across this poem and today it seemed fitting -- both for the unusual image I found on a walk with the tots this past week and following my more drear post of a few days ago. Hope defined: Seeming fragility that belies a deep-rooted resilience and strength. A spot of blue in a field of drying, old leaves. 

Roar? I meant meow pitifully . . .

Still roaring but inside my head as I've lost my voice to some icky viral nonsense. What does this mean? Therapists tend to talk quite a bit so I'm home to nurse my throat with hot drinks and silence -- which means more time to putz on the computer. Look for new photos and "bored out of my mind" blog entries:) Maybe a pedicure . . . that does feel a bit naughty as I'm supposed to be home sick. What do you think? Naughty or nice? Cheers.

Monday, March 16, 2009

I am Woman, Hear Me Roar

In brief, I completed an 8k race yesterday -- the Shamrock Run -- in the rain and wind and LOVED it. Roar! My official time was 46.16 which is roughly 9.16 minutes per mile on a rather hilly (and did I mention wet and cold?) course. I'm really very ok with that! It's been 2 years since my last race, a triathlon, and it's about time. I need these little road markers to remind me that I can be a force to be reckoned with -- feels pretty darn good to pass up more runners than pass me. Who needs water? I don't need no stink'n water. Pshaw. I scorn you runners who drink from tiny paper cups and toss them on the ground. I trample your cups on the ground (please, somebody get those?). 

Silliness aside, felt great and reminded me that I have long outrun the story of little timid Heather that got her kid sister to do the "scary" stuff first. Athletics happens to be the most concrete example of how I've set goals for myself and then just got going. 

Which inevitably leads to more goal setting:
1. Major fitness goal is to complete the Hood to Coast relay with coworker and team. 
2. Find some means to regularly post work out/training schedule -- might need to tap hubby's techie skills
3. Make stretching and strength training a "more" regular part of regimen. Is that redundant? 
4. Find more mid-length races along the way as motivators. They are way fun and have great shirts:)
5. I'm so weak . . . look hot in swimsuit for 10yr wedding anniversary in Hawaii this July. 

Sunday, March 8, 2009


New Every Morning

Every day is a fresh beginning,
Listen my soul to the glad refrain.
   And, spite of old sorrows
       And older sinning,
       Troubles forecasted
        And possible pain,
Take heart with the day and begin again.
Susan Coolidge

I've been meaning, for awhile, to go on a photographic mission, searching out signs of Spring. Yesterday, I dodged rain and sprinklings of hail to take these pictures in my own backyard! Granted the first pic is from a bouquet that I placed on the backporch -- but it doesn't feel like cheating:)
The poem is from a book a dear friend gave to me and it has been with me for several days. A prayer at the end of the day. A part of me has been feeling the "old sorrows" and "forecasted" troubles -- mine and others'. Part political, part economical and part working with families caught in the maelstrom of the two. There are the personal, and frankly more mundane, aches and pains. Big D has his first loose tooth and Little' Sis' 3rd birthday is around the corner. How'd I get to be in my 30's so quickly? and my children seem to be racing to catch up! Hubby and I have been married nearly 10 years  . . . another 10 will come and go before I know it and then what? another 10? I think I'm having a little early-midlife angst (doesn't that seem like an appropriate developmental stage?).

I need the promise of new beginnings with the entrance of spring. The sun and bright color of new leaves and crocuses feels healing and hopeful. As if we might all pull out of this winter. I need optimism. I'll borrow spring's for now. Less for me as I see my angst for what it is -- but more for the work I do and the hurt that feels near universal. God, I can't take more of the grief I've seen this week. 

But I can and I will. New every morning. I can feel sad and angry and still believe that people are basically good and that change will come. 

Enough from the overwrought therapist for now! Cheers and thanks for listening.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Funnies from Big D

Today, in the car, on the way home from school. Apparently after music class . . . 

Mommy, where did Mozart live?

Um, Austria? (kinda glad my kid is too young to fact check this little gem since I'm fairly certain I have NO clue).

Oh. I was close. I said South Dakota. But I got the next one right.

Still guffawing silently . . . 

Why did the farmer kill the chickens?

I don't know? (think'n this is a more morbid joke than I remember)

'Cause they said "Bach, Bach, Bach." I got a prize!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Holy Moly "Macro"

The title might mislead you into believing this post is about my adventures in macro photography. Ah, you are mistaken! Or, as Big D would say, "I tricked you." The real truth, since you asked, is that I finally received my extension rings and went about trying to learn how to use them. If you are wiser and more experienced than I, you're probably giggling at my foolishness. Apparently, I had NO conception of what was involved in taking photos with extension rings (literally rings that you place between the camera body and lens so that you can focus closer to subject -- at least that's the idea). I took a couple quickies such as the one above then set about adding a ring and retaking the pic. Lo and behold, I couldn't see a darn thing through the view finder. Frantic flipping through my dummy guide to my camera and another reference and the web, I discovered that there are complex mathematics involved in setting the correct exposure when you add the rings. So complex that I gave up and tried something different. For now!
The little magical trick that I tried is "zooming" to create the appearance of movement when clearly, my little bouquet of flowers is not actually sending out rays of light and energy in the middle of my kitchen table. Kinda cool! You just set your exposure at a s-l-o-w shudder speed and then when you release the shudder, twist or zoom your lens. 
Back to my sad little foray into macro. It's something I VERY much want to learn how to do. Apparently I need to get a little more instruction and perhaps a lens and who knows what else . . . maybe the lighting is more crucial? Hints, anyone? 

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Fun with Falling

This upcoming week is the final photography class. We're supposed to bring enlargements of our best "work" to share with friends and family . . . I'm all angst-filled about doing this. More on that later. In the meantime, rather than braving the wind and rain and general nastiness of the outdoors, yesterday found the family and I building towers and knocking them down with matchbook cars. I figured it'd be a great opportunity to try to capture action. 
The only trouble was it was too dark so hubby broke out the shop lights. Our own unique brand of "lighting." 
I'd like to try it again with natural lighting and maybe with a bright, colorful ball. Maybe the floor bowling set . . . 
At the end of the destruction, the EMS vehicles were on the scene . . . 
And back to angst, as promised. I have so enjoyed taking this class. It has been challenging and the learning curve steep. The last few classes have really emphasized creating images that you want to share/display and I just don't feel that confident yet. I need to practice, practice, practice. Silly? Yea, I know. This last week, only two other students showed up. And one passed out business cards! She's that serious about starting a photography business. I'm floored. I'm still thinking out every shot . . . 

Now I just want to play and experiment, figure things out organically or with photographer friends. I want this hobby to be respite from the daily stresses of mothering and work. I want to create beautiful images that I can share when I'm ready and in the forum that feels most comfortable and safe. For now, dear readers, that's you!