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Saturday, January 29, 2011


You can never go home again, but the truth is you can never leave home, so it's all right.

This one was actually kind of difficult for me. I have so many photos of the interior and exterior of our home, it was hard to come up with some new ideas! (Photographer's note: The photo above has purple fringing around the mailbox, which a bad thing. This is the first time that I've ever noticed it in one of my photos. I'll have to research how to make sure it doesn't happen again.).

Toothbrush family portrait.

Like our family portrait, represented by toothbrushes.

Saturday morning pancakes.

Saturday morning pancakes.

Relaxing in stripey socks.

Relaxing at home, in stripey socks (Yes, in a few ways Lauren actually does take after her mother.).

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I remembered. Finally.

Today is the fourth anniversary of blog! I forgot to commemorate it the last two years, but I made sure that I paid close attention to the calendar this year.

Wow, four years and we're still going strong. Okay, maybe not strong, but we're still going alright. And by the looks of it, we may reach double digits in posting this month. Those are practically 2007 numbers.

I'd like to have posted a nice family photo of the three of us, but that's impossible without someone having a meltdown (either me or Lauren). Instead, I offer something almost as good.

But first, some background information. Lauren isn't very forthcoming when it comes to providing information about her private life. Here's an example conversation:

Me: So Lauren, who did you sit by at lunch today?
Lauren: Nobody.
Me: Okay. Well, who did you play with at recess?
Lauren: Nobody.
Me: Did you have art class today?
Lauren: You should know!!!!
Me: If I knew, I wouldn't be asking. What did you do in art class.
Lauren: Nothing.

And so on and so forth. I don't know what's going on a that school, but it certainly doesn't seem like we're getting our tax dollars worth.

So one morning, Mark pondered how Lauren would handle those "stupid" questions that I ask when I interview candidates for job positions in my department.

This is the result.

Otherwise, not much new to report. We had a parent/teacher conference this evening, and Lauren is doing beautifully, scoring 100% on her assessments. I'm busy trying to figure out the logistics of how to fit 70+ cases of Girl Scout Cookies into a Mini Cooper. And Mark continues to battle wits with Marcus, who continues to chew on the corners of our baseboards.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


At times he could be very critical. He didn't like prints on me. He didn't like stripes. He didn't like boldness. He said I was petite and that was taking away from my looks.

Yesterday's assignment was an easy one: stripes. Or so I thought. I had this brilliant idea for a shot of Lauren wearing my oversized rainbow-striped sweater. Unfortunately, my ability to bribe her for model time had run out, and she ended up having a meltdown over wearing the sweater. As a result, I probably inflicted a scar on her small psyche, and now she'll grow up with phobia of things with stripes.

So I had to go with Plan B. After she calmed down, she started heckling me about it. How I suffer for my art.

A Florida style snowball.

Sometimes inspiration comes upon me unexpectedly. I found these cute striped gloves when I was getting my coat out of the closet. I had purchased them for Lauren a couple of months ago and had forgotten all about them. Although they were supposed to be child size, they're too big for her, but fit me perfectly. I thought it would be fun to hold an orange instead of a snowball. It's easy to think about Florida when it's only fifteen degrees outside.

Pick a number. Any number.

Of course, there are also lots of stripes around our home.

Ticking stripe pillows.

A child's world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement.

Lastly, a bonus shot of Lauren with her new haircut. Today's Daily Shoot assignment was Celebrate the pretty things in life. Make a photograph of the most beautiful thing you see today. And I could think of nothing more beautiful that our new table and chairs set. ;)

Saturday, January 22, 2011


A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of.

I found another photo challenge site called "The Daily Shoot." It's very slick - you upload to one of the photo sharing sites, tweet the link to the photo using Twitter and then your photo magically appears on the site for all to see.

How wonderous the world must be through her eyes.

Can there really ever be enough photos of Daisy looking out the window? I don't think so.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

Topless (Without people).

If men had more up top we'd need less up front.

Unless they're plastic. A bit silly answer to the challenge, but it made me get out and use my macro lens. I almost figured out how to use it properly too. I just couldn't get it to focus exactly where I wanted it - on the helmet (If you look at the image full size, the focus is actually on the crook of his arm). Next time, though.

"Just sell the tops."

Then I decided to switch to the 50mm f/1.8 for this one because I wanted the top of the cupcake blurred as much as possible.

Leave all the afternoon for exercise and recreation, which are as necessary as reading. I will rather say more necessary because health is worth more than learning.

Yesterday's theme was "afternoon." Another group member had the same idea - I like her execution much better. I even have a copy of The Pillars of the Earth. I really need to get around to reading it.

Where will they take me?

Lastly, here's a bonus photo of my (not so) new boots. I bought these last fall, but I didn't wear them until today because all my jeans were boot cut and wouldn't look right tucked into the boot. Since the camera was set up right there, I decided to take a photo to commemorate the occasion. These boots are special, you see, because they're girl's and not women's. Even though they were for kids, I fell in love with them anyway and went searching for an adult equivalent. Then I discovered that a girl's size 5 shoe is the equivalent to a women's size 7! So I went and got them. I wonder where they'll take me...

Saturday, January 15, 2011


The frost never paints my windows twice alike.

Here it is already the middle of January, and I have yet to do the thing that I planned to do with the blog starting this year. So let's get to it.

As I mentioned before, I've been wanting to take the blog in a new direction, a direction which would hopefully help me to achieve one of the things that I'm striving for, and that is to improve my photography skills. And as every professional photographer advises in every photography book I've ever read, the only way to do this is to practice and take lots and lots of photos.

Well, gosh, I can do that. I *love* taking photos. However, there are times when I'm dying to shoot, but I can't find anything to shoot. As I peruse others photos, I often lament that I don't have access to things that make for fabulous, breathtaking photos like beaches or horses or fields, etc., Why if we lived on a farm near a lake, I'd never run out of things to photograph! And just how can you take a bad photo of those things anyway? Anyway, when you live in the middle of suburban Pittsburgh, you have to try a little harder, especially when it's the middle of winter and you don't get home from work until sundown and all the light is gone.

So in order to motivate me to shoot more often and get my creative juices going, there will be posts that are going to contain photos that interpret a single topic. I got this idea from the Flickr Blog, but there are many photography groups that are dedicated to challenging their members to get out and take photos of the subject of the day. I've joined a few of these groups, so many of the topics on the blog will no doubt come from these groups. After all, I need some objectivity, or else I'll just end up with posts titled "Cute kids named Lauren" and "Dogs who love donuts." How challenging is that?

Sometimes, I'll offer commentary on the photos, to explain how I would have done things differently or what challenges I faced. For example, I think this one would have been stronger if I had dressed her differently. Maybe in a dress or her fairy outfit, to give it a more dreamlike quality. However, given the fact that I had to bribe Lauren with three gummi worms and Wii time just to get her to stand there for me, I seriously doubt she was going to willingly change her clothes.

I should have also taken it in front of the other window, which may have made for a more picturesque view. I don't think you can see the stupid telephone pole as much looking out from the other window.

I also should have used my tripod. I prefer to take photos on-the-fly, and it really takes me out of the moment to have to drag the thing out and set it up. It also makes me feel like I'm a "serious" photographer, so as a result, I feel more pressure to produce something quality rather than let the process happen organically. Unfortunately, every professional espouses the absolute necessity of the tripod if you want truly sharp photos. Therefore, I must learn to love my tripod. I must allow it to buy me dinner and watch chick flicks with it. Either that, or invest in some expensive vibration reduction lenses.

The most beautiful part of every picture is the frame.

And sometimes, I won't say anything, and let the photos speak for themselves.

Vintage gameboards

Basically, I'll just do what I feel like, without any pressure to be funny or clever or deep or tell a story. So there can be no more excuses not to get out, shoot and post.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do.

Cupcake decorations.

I've been super busy most of this week preparing for our Daisy Girl Scout Troop's investiture ceremony and the kick-off of the annual cookie sale. I am what is referred to in Girl Scout circles as, "The Cookie Mom." From what I've heard, it is a job that strikes fear in the hearts of women far and wide. I'm just concerned how I'm going to get all those cases of cookies into a Mini Cooper.

For the uninitiated, investiture is a special ceremony to welcome new girls into Girl Scouting. And special occasions call for special treats, so we made Daisy themed cupcakes. Thankfully, I have a way with paper crafts, because I am otherwise confectionery decorating impaired.

Daisy Girl Scout cupcakes.

Here's the finished product.

Daisy Girl Scout Troop 51504

All the girls did a wonderful job during the ceremony, but of course, I was especially proud of Lauren. We had been practicing the Girl Scout Promise here and there during the week. Sometimes, she'd rattle it off perfectly, but other times, she'd give me a blank stare. Not only did she nail it at the ceremony, she even volunteered to go second. That's my girl!

Daisy Scout.

Because Lauren demonstrated that she knows the Girl Scout promise by reciting it all by herself, she earned the Promise Center of her daisy. As she learns the meaning behind each part of the Girl Scout Law, she'll earn a petal.

Adjusting her pin.

And here is the newly minted Girl Scout proudly adjusting her pin. I love that while she's big enough to do all the wonderful things Girl Scouts can do, you can still see the baby in her face.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Time to eat the donuts.

Time to eat the donuts.

A story in honor of the fact that our beloved Taco Bell was closed in favor of a new Dunkin' Donuts.

Do you think she sees me?

Do you think she can see me?

If only I could squeeze through here...

If only I could squeeze my head through here...

Almost there...

Almost there...

Victory is mine!

Victory is mine!

No donuts were licked or otherwise harmed during the shooting of this story.