Sunday, June 26, 2011

Random Thoughts

While working on the photography challenge I haven't been the best of bloggers.  It's not that I haven't had anything to say...seriously, anyone who knows me would know this isn't the case.  I've just been busy.  But really, who isn't busy?  I thought it would be fun to share a little of what's been occupying my world:

  • I have a favorite new blog (thanks, Audra) called And Then She Saved.  I'm totally obsessed with paying off my store debt & read & listen to everything I can to help motivate me.  A spending diet is equally as bad as a food diet.  Seriously.
  • I've been spending every second the wind doesn't blow me away sitting on my deck.  I need sunshine.  I need summer.
  • My husband & I decided that we're going to take a spontaneous road trip in July.  I know...what's spontaneous about planning to take a road trip?We're heading west, with only one destination in mind (a beach).  Tossing sleeping bags in the car just in case we can't find a cheap hotel & just going.  Unfortunately, my busy mind keeps trying to make it more difficult than it should be.  We should fly to Portland & see Heather.  Better yet, we should drive to Portland to see Heather & get that Sleepy Monk Coffee from Cannon Beach!  It's only 20 hours to get there...  Or we could fly to San a car & drive to Oregon...really, the madness in my head just doesn't stop.
  • Found another new favorite blog:  The Bloggess. If you don't like the f-word, don't read it.  I happen to use it liberally so it doesn't bother me.
  • I have sucked at grocery shopping.  Kendall routinely tells me there's no food in the house.  But I just can't seem to drag my ass to the grocery store.
  • My friend Mindy came over Friday night & we sat on the deck & drank (me, wine, Mindy, hard cider), ate yummy food prepared by my husband (because otherwise, it would have been take out...I'm not cooking...) & then made lovely bracelets out of buttons.
 1) me  2) Mindy  3) Kendall

  • Have I mentioned that I cannot wait for Breaking Dawn?  Yes, I realize I'm too old to like teenage vampire movies...don't judge.

Day 26: Close Up (Me)

Pretty flowers in my garden.

30 Day Photography Challenge

Day 25: Something Pink (Me)

My hubby & my best friend.  If rosy cheeks don't count, then surely Audra's pink shirt does!

30 Day Photography Challenge

Day 24: Animal (Me)

I've mentioned in the past that our dog Maggie is super shy.  She absolutely does not like the camera.  Today I tricked her with her favorite treats.  Do I wish the photos were crisper?  Absolutely.  Honestly though, I'm just thrilled that she let me take any at all!

30 Day Photography Challenge

Day 23: Sunflare (me)

I only pretend to know what I'm doing with my camera.  I have very little confidence in my photo taking abilities.  But I have to say, this photo rocks!  I am now partially blind from looking directly into the sun for so long (not really) but it was worth it! 

30 Day Photography Challenge

Day 22: Hands (Audra)

You knew there would be a cocktail eventually right? 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Day 23: Sunflare (Audra)

Sun drenched days lead to star filled nights!

Day 21: Faceless Self Portrait (Audra)

My new hat for the Turks and Caicos.  Very Brenda Leigh Johnson - right?

Day 20: Bokeh (Audra)

My very first attempt at Bokeh.
I will try this concept again and again.  Love the effect but my Christmas light strand was failing so rapidly while trying to get these shots.  Lost 10 bulbs in 10 seconds.  Looks like I will be buying new strands this year for Christmas.  Secretly glad to get to buy some new Christmas decor after being on a spending freeze for the last few years.  10 hours and 12 boxes is a bit much but I wouldn't have it any other way!

Day 19: Something Orange (Audra)

a well loved ball and a well used leash
Tough just what to photograph.  Dutch's signature color is orange so there are orange  toys, collars, leashes and dishes.  Yes, my dog has a signature color - my thinking was he would be drawn to that color and would leave other items not that color alone.  Yeah, turns out, they say dogs are color blind.  Whatever, we suffered no puppy casualties when he was teething - so maybe I am on to something!

Day 18: Your Shoes (Audra)

Donald Pliners
From the Mountains of Italy
OK - not really the mountains of Italy, but Donald told us that sounded much better than from a village at the base of the mountains of Italy.  True story.  We met him at a Nordstrom Event and that is what he said.  And yes, they are comfortable for about 9 hours.

Day 16: Long Exposure (Audra)

Can you tell that there is a heart framing the lights?  This was total luck as I was trying for an entirely different effect.  It would be better centered and all that, but I am just pleased that I sort of got the concept grasped.  Perfection, maybe, will come later.

Day 15: Shilhouette (Audra)

a family portrait
jeff, me and dutch
Rest assured, my body is not actually a giant triangle.  This is what you get though when you wear a dress for a shadow silhouette - note to self. 

Day 14: Eyes (Audra)

Dutch's eyes
These eyes:
cheer me when I am blue
urge me to action
calm me when I am scared
love me without limits

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day 22: Hands (Me)

Today is actually day 22.  You're probably wondering, "where are days 20 & 21?"  They require a little more planning than I have had the energy for.  Stinkin' summer colds suck.  Last night I was in bed by 7:45 pm.  The sun hadn't even set.  It was the longest day of the year...during my most favorite time of the year...and I slept through it.  Rest assured, I will catch up.

My husband and I have been married 19 years, 9 months, 15 days.  I can honestly say, he is the best man for me.  I know, I know, I complain incessantly about the things he does that drive me nuts.  But who doesn't have a few complaints when you spend almost half your life with someone?  I can tell you that I love him completely, faults & all (because you know, I am perfect...hahaha!). 
You may notice that my ring is different now than when we got married.  I used to wear three separate rings that I had welded together (for lack of a better description).  One was my great grandmothers plain wedding band, the next was my grandmother's Tiffany eternity band (where the diamonds go all around the whole band) and the last was my engagement ring, which was mounted kinda high.  I had a habit of getting my hand caught in drawers & kept bending my engagement ring.  I smashed my hand in something or other & flattened them a few times.  And finally I started to lose the gold holding the diamonds in the eternity band (happens when you wear them for enough years).  So after much agonizing debating...I'm a traditional girl, I don't believe in trading up or changing your wedding ring (sorry)...I took them to the jewelers & had them melted together to make the ring I currently wear.  There were 6 tiny diamonds left from my new setting & I gave them to my brother to put in his wife's band.  It was only fair that I share them.  Sometimes I still long for my old was perfect for me.  But do a lot of things with my hands & the flat setting is more suited to that.

30 Day Photography Challenge

Monday, June 20, 2011

It's a dogs life

These two (Ori on the left, Mia on the right) are happiest snuggled up on my bed.  That is Mia's spot, which is very in convenient since it happens to be my side of the bed.  The other day Kendall was lying across the foot of the bed right in Mia's spot...and Mia was totally flipping out.  She was runinning around on my bed whining, licking my face & chewing on my arm.  I told Kendall to move & she thought I was crazy...until she finally moved and Mia settled right into her spot & promptly fell asleep.  I guess we all like things the way we like them.  Even the dogs.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Have to admit...

  • that I wasn't in a very good mood today.
  • I may or may not have said a few things that I should not have & that I regret.
  • I blew my frickin' doctor ordered healthy eating (no gluten, low sugar, low carb, no processed food) today...and when I realized it was blown, i ate 4 double stuffed oreos...that didn't even taste good.  Now I have to start the 3 months over tomorrow.  Damn it!
  • I think I blew my husbands father's day by provoking a fight...with a man who doesn't the grocery store.
  • I feel like I'm getting a nasty cold.
  • I am incredibly jealous my family is going to Oak Creek Canyon tomorrow for a day of sunbathing & picnicking...while I am going to work to sit in front of a computer.
  • Overall, I think I'm having a pity party.  I don't like it.  Not one little bit.
  • Some days, I just feel like life is passing me by & I'm missing the ride...

Day 19: Something Orange (Me)

My nephew AJ loves the color orange.  And I mean he loves it!  So when todays prompt was something orange, I knew I had to do it with him.  When I got to his house tonight he had just woken up from his nap.  He was a little groggy, but perked right up when I mentioned orange.

Me:  "AJ, I need to take a picture of something orange.  Can you help me out?"

AJ:  Bounding off the couch, "my shirt is orange!"

Me:  "AJ how about we go look in your room for something orange?"

AJ:   "Auntie, my shirt is orange."

Completely adorable!

30 Day Photography Challenge

Day 18: Your Shoes (Me)

I am a girl who is all about comfort.  Pretty shoes?  They do nothing for me.  I like good support & functionality.  And hey, if they look cool, more power to 'em.
These are my beloved Chacos.  I wear them everywhere...with everything.  Shorts, skirts, dresses.  Doesn't matter to me.  They are durable & comfy.  My favorite part is the way they cross over my big toe.  The only drawback?  I can't wear them to work....{sigh}.

30 Day Photography Challenge

Day 17: Technology (Me)

Today, this is my favorite piece of technology:
Completely low-tech apple corer peeler slicer.  I'm sure in it's day it was the height of technology.  Something so, so simple...that can make your life just a little bit easier.  Love it!

30 Day Photography Challenge

Day 16: Long Exposure (Me)

I played around with longer shutter speeds today.  Shutter speed is my enemy.  I shoot on aperture priority, so I can make the back ground blurry on my photos.  Shutter priority?  Man, it's a hard one for me!  A bazillion shots of blurry trees & blown out white space later, I decided to have my daughter put her foot on the brakes....literally.  The Mini Cooper brakes.  I was making fun little heart shapes (I actually posted this photo upside down so it looks like a heart).  Loved the results!  My husband had the bright idea to have her put the car in reverse & I got this:
This is something that I'll most definitely have to play around with a little more!

30 Day Photography Challenge

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day 13: Yourself with 13 Things (me)

Notice that I didn't do a photo with 13 things.  You see, I'm superstitious, stupidly so, & I despise the number 13.  The only good thing about the number 13 is my mother's birthday.  And she's a very, very good thing!  I've struggled with what to to take the photo...and settled on:  I don't wanna.  Very, very adult!  But hey, I'll humor you & tell you 13 things about me (or maybe 14, I really do not like the number 13!)

1.  I am so very, very happy to no longer be self employed.
2.  That said, having a boss again is very, very difficult.
3.  I don't suffer from allergies but am sick to death of the pollen that is coating every surface everywhere.
4.  I enjoy long walks with my bff Audra & my dog Maggie.
5.  I hate to run.  (and I've given it the good college try by running a 1/2 marathon...never again.)
6.  I knew I loved my husband the day I met him.
7.  My daughter drives me bat shit crazy, but I adore her.
8.  I don't enjoy cooking...not one little bit.  But I'm addicted to cooking shows & cookbooks!
9.  I have to eat gluten free, low sugar & processed food free for the next 3 months...starting today...and it pisses me off.
10.  I am ridiculously shy...until you get to know me...and then I'm likely the most opinionated person you've ever meet.
11.  My daughter says she gets her looks from her dad (she looks NOTHING like me)...and her attitude from me.  Unfortunately she doesn't possess a mute least mine is activate on occasion.
12.  I miss my friend Rachel...she can dish it out just as good as me.  We just get each other.
13.  I'm craving some alone time.
14.  I've decided to put off the photography class I wanted to take until the spring.  It's a financial decision.  I hate that my life is dictated by finances, but there you have it.

30 Day Photography Challenge

Day 15: Shilhouette (me)

I can thank my friend Allison Barry for being able to spell the word SILHOUETTE.  And how to spell her name, ALL IS ON.  She's a great phonetical speller!  This prompt was so fun, so fun, in fact that I was unable to narrow it down to one shot.  But I'll just share two with you:
That's Kendall.  Her teeny tiny arms look practically buff!
Me & Mia.  This one cracks me up.  She's so...proper...

30 Day Photography Challenge

Day 14: Eyes (me)

If the eyes are the window to the soul, then my soul must be tired.  Even first thing in the morning.  I had no idea they'd gotten so crinkly...I don't know what I expected at 43, but I don't think this was it.  Truth be told, I know where each & every one of those lines came from...both the happy & the sad ones. 

30 Day Photography Challenge

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day 3: Clouds (Audra)

A little out of order...
What could possibly be better than a cloud of confetti?  Hopefully it was worth the wait!  Oh and if you are downtown Flagstaff and see pieces of confetti in random spots - you know where it came from!

Day 13: Yourself with 13 Things (Audra)

picture by Jeff Blair
I thought the concept was good - too bad the photographer didn't quite understand what I was hoping to capture.  He would press the button, turn the camera and let me see the picture, I would try to give direction but he was clearly getting frustrated with the entire process.  This is the best of 13 shots.

Day 12: Sunset (Audra)

Boy, when that sun starts to set - it sets!  Had to shoot photos quickly to capture the sunset.  The first photo was the best - the most brilliant of all the shots. 

Day 12: Sunset (Me)

I put off doing this photo a) because I don't really see the actual sun set from my back yard and b) I was too lazy to go somewhere else.  But today after I worked my regular job, I headed down to my fun job (Fizz Bath Shop) to work a few hours.  My initial intent was to take a photo of the sunset from downtown.  I should have tried...but when I was there, the setting sun was huge & blinding.  So then I headed to Buffalo Park thinking surely there would be an opportunity for a photo.  And there would have been...had I gotten out of the car.  So it turns out I was looking for a gorgeous sunset photo to take...from the car.  I gave up & was headed home...the sun was too far gone for a good photo, or so I thought.  I ended up just past my friend Kim's house when I turned around and saw this.  I think the white floaty things are lens flare, but hey, it's a perfectly acceptable shot, all from the comfort of my cute little car.

I have to thank White Peach Photography for issuing this 30 Day Photography Challenge.  I'm taking out my camera again after a brief hiatus & I'm enjoying taking all of these fun photos!

Day 11: Something Blue (Audra)

A stunning blue sky.  One of the best parts about living in Arizona, we get this spectacular shade of blue most days of the year!

Day 10: Childhood Memory (Audra)

When thinking about this particular prompt most of the memories from my childhood that came flooding to my mind involved Heidi.  She made this bear for me in 1985 (or there about).  The sweater has a Brass Plum label in it (from Nordstrom) and there is a little bear pin attached to the collar of the sweater (a style that we often replicated.  We were nothing if not fashionable!)  My mom always told us - Make new friends but keep the old.  One is silver the other is gold.  She really is a golden friend!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Day 11: Something Blue (me)

We hang a United States flag in front of our house each & every day of the year.  We just replaced our flag today, as the old one had faded from constant use.  Our house looked naked without it, truth be told.  Please don't worry that we didn't dispose of the flag properly.  My husband is the most patriotic man I know...he googled how to dispose of a flag with the honor & respect it deserves & had himself a little ceremony.

30 Day Photography Challenge

Day 10: Childhood Memory (me)

Childhood memories...this was a tough one for me.  I tend to only remember the bad stuff.  Not that anything all that traumatic happened to me as a kid...I just happen to remember times when I felt stupid, did something stupid, was embarrassed, teased, humiliated...well, you get the point.  I wish I could say I remember all the happy times, but for some reason, my brain just chooses to ignore that.  I find it very frustrating!  It's something I wish I could change about myself...really & truly! 

The more I thought about the challenge, what kept popping into my head was pulling dandelions with Sherrine.  Tata (her grandfather) was adamant that every last dandelion be pulled in his magnificent yard.  You couldn't just pull the leaves off.  Or pull the flowers. had to use a dandelion puller...a long screwdriver type tool that got to the roots of the dandelions.  I swear we spent hours every day pulling them...but I'm sure that's a gross exaggeration.  Sherrine & I were the best damn dandelion pullers around!

30 Day Photography Challenge

Day 9: Someone You Love (me)

I love my daughter and my husband more that I could ever say in a tiny blog post.  Our daughter is growing up to be such a cool person!  And my husband?  Well, he's my soul mate.  I am so lucky to have them both!

30 Day Photography Challenge

Day 9: Someone You Love (Audra)

Cindy Wren
~ close friends contribute to our personal pleasure by making the skies seem bluer, the music sound sweeter, the laughter ring louder and the vodka taste richer - it is for these reasons and so many others that I cherish her.

30 Day Photography Challenge

Day 8: A Bad Habit (Audra)

More Guilty Pleasure than Bad Habit - Cookies with a side of Coffee.  Everyone knows of my love for cookies but few appreciate my passion for them.  I stunned my Aunt when I disclosed in December, I will eat cookies with reckless abandon and by the 10th I had already consumed 6 dozen cookies.  In case you wondered, this is why I run . . .

30 Day Photography Challenge

Day 7: Fruit (Audra)

Bananas and Pineapple in the Ninja (thanks for the recommendation Kirsten) ready to be a breakfast smoothie.

30 Day Photography Challenge

Day 6: From a Low Angle (Audra)

This is the slurry plane that flew over the house on Wednesday, on its' way to the Turkey Hills fire.  Poor Dutch worked himself into a frenzy with the low flying planes.

30 Day Photography Challenge

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Day 8: A bad habit (me)

Today's 30 Day Photography Challenge was just that...challenging.  Maybe not in the way you're thinking though.  It was easy enough to take the photo.  The challenge was admitting to the three people who read my blog that I do, in fact, have bad habits.  Many of them, actually.  But not any that I really want to point out to you. 

I finally decided to come clean on my addiction to my cell phone.  I know, I know...we didn't have phones in the stone ages, why do we need them now?  I didn't need a smart phone a year ago...I was totally fine with my little Envy (without the unlimited data plan).  I mean, I used that too much, was fun & easy to text.  I actually drug my feet, kicking & screaming when Don wanted to get new cell phones.  Mine was fine.  I didn't want a data plan. What a waste of money!  Then we hit the Verizon store & saw the Droids.  They were buy 1 get 1 free, so why not, right?  I really wanted an iPhone, but Verizon didn't have them yet, so we settled for Droids.  And I justified needing it because of the store.  You know, the one that I no longer own.  I could be connected to it always...and I was.  (Maybe that's why I don't own it anymore!)

Oh, how I love my Droid!  Look how cute it is!  I have a snazzy snap on cover with pretty, if not slightly pornographic, flowers on it.  I can surf the web, I can use Twitter (which I didn't care a bit about until I got this phone & now I'm addicted to can follow me @allshinyandnew).  My Droid tells me when I have a text message (with a cute little smiley face!), when I have an email (that M in the upper left corner).  I can check the weather with a touch of the screen.  I have fun apps like Angry Birds & Retro Camera.  I can actually blog from my phone.  The problem with all this connected-ness is that I check my phone constantly.  Even when the screen is asleep, a little green light flashes to tell me there something new to look at.  I keep it close by so I can check it at any given moment.  I'm embarrassed to say I check it first thing in the morning...and last thing before I go to sleep.  Come to think of it, I think I have a problem.  It might be time to unplug for a bit...hmmm...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Day 7: Me (Fruit)

Day 6: Me (From A Low Angle)

I'll be completely honest.  I've got nothing for you.  Everything I tried didn't work.  Kendall looked like she had piggy nostrils.  The dogs are a blur.  I'll revisit this challenge on another day, because damn it, it ticks me off when I can't get it right the first try!

Best Pictures of My Dogs...Ever!

Well, at least two of the them.  It's amazing how uncooperative my three dogs are.  They see the camera & they run from the room.  But today I discovered that if I hold their favorite treats in my camera hand, well, they'll pose forever.
and look damn adorable doing it!  This is Ori.  He is our grumpy old man dog.  I'm sure he would prefer that he be in a one dog family.  Such is not his luck.  He's crotchety & cantankerous.  He demands your undivided attention.  At night, he crawls under the sheets to snuggle with you.  He acts like he's going to eat Dutch's face off every time he sees him, no provoking from Dutch.  But underneath that gruff exterior is a dog that just wants to be loved (he had a hard life before us).

And this is Mia.  She is my husbands favorite.  She's totally a terrier (a West Highland White Terrier, to be exact.)  She's the boss of all the dogs...all the people, too.  She costs us a fortune at the vet due to her Addison's Disease.  She's 10 or so...and right before her every three week steroid shot, she kinda peters out & makes us think the end is near.  Then she gets the shot & she acts like she's two.

We have another dog, Maggie.  You've seen her before in other posts.  You won't see her here today because, well, she was having none of the photo taking.  She's very shy, you see.  The camera is not her friend.  But that's ok.  She got her treat & she's a happy, happy dog!

Day 5: Me (Taken From a High Angle)

Never do I think of the 30 Day Photography Challenge assignments when the light is perfect.  Or even on the right day.  Today I lucked out & had a willing participant (when does that happen?).  So the light's not perfect, but the subject is adorable.  While we were trying a few shots, we got this one, too...
Sometimes you just get lucky.

Day 5: Audra (Taken From A High Angle)

Dutch helping Jeff with yard cleanup!  Jeff tosses limbs and pine cones off the grass, Dutch dutifully retrieves them.  Oh the helpfulness of it all!  Taken from the upstairs porch.

30 Day Photography Challenge

Day 4: Audra (Something Green)

This is Hunter's maple tree, finally leafing out after a long winter.