Monday, December 29, 2008

Agenda: nothing

On the way home from work tonight, after picking up Zozer from school, my mind wandered to the probable events of the evening. We'd most likely play with some of Zozer's new toys in the library, maybe read a book or two. Dinner. Pick up the toys. Watch the lights, and then put her down for the night. And then...

My head nearly exploded with sheer joy over the realization that, come 7:30 p.m., M and I would have virtually no obligations whatsoever. None. Zip. Nada. Big goose-egg. We could surf the 'Net. We could read. We could watch a movie. We could fall asleep watching a movie. We could skip the damn movie and be asleep, in bed, by 7:35. Which, trust me, these days sounds pretty blissful.

I thought to myself, "This must be what it will feel like after graduation...all the damn time." I couldn't even get my brain to fully wrap around the concept of "spare time." I just know that it sounds good and I like it.

I've spent the last hour catching up on my favorite sites (mostly photography related), and I think I'm about done for the evening. May pop in the American Photography DVD and fall asleep on the couch. Fell asleep to the Paul Strand DVD last night before rousing myself for an hour or two of Photoshop time on the Mac. I could totally get used to this kind of lifestyle.

(P.S. We found out we got A's in Management Accounting today. The trend of marital ultra-nerdiness continues!)


Today is my Granny's 85th birthday. She wouldn't like me to use expletives to describe her (actually, she doesn't like it when I curse at all), but she's a damn fine woman. Here's to 85, Gran...I hope you have a wonderful day!

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Christmas was awesome this year.

Monday, December 22, 2008

That 70s Aim

Came in this morning to a drive-by photographing.

Every once in awhile my aunt cleans out her house and stumbles across old photographs. She gets a charge out of them and, like they're not embarrassing enough being passed around family members, she brings them in to share with the office. This is one of the few downsides to working with family.

When I got to work this morning I did my usual routine of wheeling my bag behind my desk and pulling out the laptop to start booting before I even take off my coat. I like to maximize time, so starting the laptop on its daily boot-up tasks allows me time to hang my coat and get situated instead of sitting there staring at the Windows start-up screen.

Anyway, as I was swinging the laptop around to place it on my desk, I caught something out of the corner of my eye. It was a new picture of Zoe that someone placed against one of my framed images of her. I started the laptop and turned back to look.

It wasn't was me. Apparently Auntie has been cleaning again...I got an image and my other aunt got one, too. Hers was from '77 and is pretty fun.

Given that I've posted images from M's childhood here, I feel it's only fair to offer myself up to the masses as well. All I can say about this is, "Jeez, Ma, what's up with those shoes?"

Funny, I still don't know
how to smile decently for the camera.
There's a reason I'm a photographer...
get to stay
behind the lens.

Friday, December 19, 2008


I was really impressed by this photograph of Zoe writing her name, until I opened the file in Photoshop and enlarged, and realized that she's writing it on Ethan T.'s paper. (See name printed at top of her sheet.) Let's chalk it up to artistic license, shall we?

I'm sure Ethan T.'s parents, upon receiving their child's artwork at the end of the week, will look at each other and say, "WTF?" Or do we get it, by virtue of being the parents of the child who actually did the art? Where's a good copyright lawyer when you need one!

Christmas art from Zoe

Methinks these gingerbread men had too much eggnog,
and that's why they're horizontal.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Management Accounting...check!

And another one bites the dust.

I've just submitted my final (all 13 friggin' pages of it) for Management Accounting, thereby concluding my fifth class and first year of grad school. So so so glad that's over. Both the class and the first year.

I'm really waiting for the point that grad school gets easier, but I'm thinking, yeah, that's not ever gonna happen. Gluttons for punishment, we've signed up for two classes next term (which starts Jan. 5), but we've been told by several people that they are both relatively easy classes and we should be able to get through both at once okay. Famous last words.

One of them is marketing, though, so for Pete's sake I hope that it's easier for me than the accounting crap was.

The other class is organizational behavior, and I can't wait to learn about that in relation to the spa industry. We could have our own reality television show where I work. Bunch of divas and prima donnas...and those are the men! While I was warned that the spa/salon industry is quite different when I first took the job, oh man, was that an understatement. It's a great job, though, and I laugh nearly every day, so what's not to love about that?

Christmas cards went out this morning, after 10 minutes figuring out the "automated" stamp purchasing machine at the PO (didn't feel like being number 147 in line when they were on 12). Let's just say that the stamp machine has got to be the perfect example of something designed by government beaurocrats who have no idea about process, simplicity or ease of use. The two people ahead of me got flummoxed enough to walk away stampless. Not me! "You won't best me, ill-designed government property! I'll get my stamps, so help me God, and I will never go hungry again!" I got 'em, stamped our cards and shoved 'em in the chute, walking away oddly satisfied that I was brilliant enough to figure out how to purchase stamps from a machine. It's what gave me confidence to complete and submit my Management Accounting final tonight.

Update on Zozer...she's no longer puking but is taking it easy on the food. Dinner tonight consisted of one raisin and one bite of banana. She had a decent breakfast, though, and some snacks and lunch, so I'm not worried about her appetite gradually returning.

Her personality is definitely returning, though, which is a positive sign, and we had fun playing in the library tonight. She felt like cooking, so my apple and her egg went into the microwave together (we're "saving them for later"), and she sauteed some pepperoni pizza toppings while the bottle of ketchup simmered on the next burner. Because she's a multi-tasker like her parents, Hootie got a bath in the kitchen sink (along with some wasabi and a few pieces of California roll) while she cooked. We also played with blocks and read a few books and snuggled, which for me is always the best part of the day.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Crunch Time

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. We're getting down to the end of the year crunch time. Our class final is due this week, plus we're wrapping up Christmas shopping, Zozer has been sick (nothing major...just a stomach bug) and things sorta piled up from getting ready for the Grand Lighting.

Everything is going well, it's just that posting to the blog has fallen a bit down on the list of priorities. Paying bills and keeping us from incurring finance charges or our electricity being cut, you know, is a bit more important.

Plus, I really haven't had anything particularly witty to post lately.

In fact, I don't have anything particularly witty to post today, but felt that I should indeed be posting something.

I do have several questions for which I can't seem to find specific answers:
  1. How can DHL, FedEx and UPS all provide real-time accurate tracking of packages, but the USPS can only say, "Electronic shipping order received. This does not mean the USPS has picked up your package or is in possession of it, or plans to pick it up any time at all in the near future, thereby screwing you out of giving actual gifts for Christmas. Instead, you'll be forced to print out crappy internet pictures of the gifts, wrap them up and give those to your loved ones, with apologetic shrugs and the explanation, 'I'm so sorry...I really thought I ordered it in plenty of time.' System updated nightly; check back later." (I may be paraphrasing a bit, but you get the idea.) It says this message all the way until the package is delivered, which it then tells me is delivered, only after I've found it on my front porch or in my mailbox and pretty much then know the actual status on my own.
  2. Is it possible that parents of small children who have stomach viruses (viri?) could maybe, possibly consider that by taking their children to school they are thereby passing said virus along to other children who have, up to this point, been quite healthy? Could they maybe consider that not everyone wants to spend their holiday season cleaning up vomit? I consider this when my child is sick (although I don't actually spend my entire holiday season cleaning up vomit...instead forcing Grandma to spend her holiday season cleaning up vomit - thank you, Grandma!) and keep my child home from school. I understand that some people don't have the options I do, but come on. If your kid is puking, that's a pretty good indication he/she shouldn't be around other kids. Grrrr.
  3. Who on earth would pay $20 for the "retro" version of the Candy Land game that comes in a plastic box when the original game (which, ironically, looks just like it did when I was a kid, and is therefore really more truly retro than the new plastic box version) is priced at five bucks. Who does that? Zozer is getting the $5 version for Christmas, in the cardboard box and all. Just like M and I had when we were kids. What brilliant marketing puke decided that the repackaged version of the game, in a plastic box and all, should be called "retro?" Just doesn't make sense to me.
  4. Why is it that during the week of the final, when a huge chunk of your grade is riding on your submission, the prof is virtually non-existent? He's not responding to e-mail or phone calls, and we can't move forward with completing one question on the final until he answers some questions we have. I'd cut him some slack and consider that maybe his kid has a stomach bug and he's busy cleaning up barf, but I already know his kid is in college (at my alma mater, no less! MIZ-ZOU!) and therefore he is relatively barf-free at this point in his life. Unless he has the stomach virus. Oooo, that would be bad. Okay, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and consider that. He better be tossing his cookies, though, or I'm gonna be hacked.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

As the bell tolls 4 a.m.

I hate insomnia.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Zoe's Dance Card

Zoe wanted to dance tonight, so that's what we did. In our usual spot (the darkroom) and to our usual songs, plus a few more.

Here were her requests (plus some suggestions from Mommy and Daddy), in order, with her dance partner listed:
  1. Let It Be, The Beatles, Mommy
  2. Snow, Chili Peppers, Mommy
  3. Tell Me Baby, Chili Peppers, Mommy
  4. She Looks To Me, Chili Peppers, Mommy
  5. 21st Century, Chili Peppers (she was really on a Chili Peppers roll, there), Mommy (at this point, Mommy's arms felt like they were going to break off, since "dancing" with Zoe means holding her while we slow dance)
  6. Little Drummer Boy, Some Kick-Ass Chorale Group That I'm Too Lazy To Go Look Up, Daddy
  7. Little Drummer Boy, again (she really likes it), Daddy
  8. With or Without You, U2, Daddy
  9. The Sweetest Thing, U2, Mommy
  10. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, U2, Mommy
  11. Where the Streets Have No Name, U2, Daddy

This was her first introduction to U2 and she appears to really like the music, which is a major plus since it's Daddy's favorite band (and one of Mommy's).

So, I'm thrilled that our kid has great taste in music, and that she loves to dance with us. Even if Mommy looks like a freak of nature with this stupid puffy eye.

It's getting better, by the way. The puffy eye. It's slightly less puffy. I wore my sunglasses around work today and was alternately called "Jackie O" and "Ray Charles." I'll take either, as I greatly admire both. I've definitely been called worse!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

New Zozer Art

Waiting for me in her cubby when I dropped her off this morning, another fall motif:

The eyes have it

Or, rather, one eye has it. A virus. A veyerus, so to speak. Well, not so much the eye as the eyelid, which is much preferable to having a virus in the actual eye. Basically, I have a cold sore on my left eyelid, which is itchy and painful and quite disgusting.

It's not something that the average person would notice, except for the fact that I am wearing no eye make-up (it hurts to blink...I can't imagine jabbing it with an eyeliner pencil). It's puffy and swollen, but not so much that small children run screaming from me. In fact, I don't think Zozer even noticed. She was too concerned with the ampersand on my spa shirt, wanting to know what it was, and if it was in the name of Daddy's work, too.

Yesterday my eyelid started itching. So, like anyone would do, I scratched it. And scratched it. And scratched it. By the time my IAS board meeting was starting at 6:30, my lid was puffed up like a blowfish and I felt horrible. I chatted for a few minutes and bolted for home, where Dr. M inspected it and diagnosed, "Ewwwww. It's all puffy!" I figured I'd sleep on it and see how it was in the morning.

At 3:30 I woke up from the pain. More saline drops, and tossing and turning, and that was it for the night. Since I hadn't gone to bed until midnight, I'm running on very little sleep, which makes me even more grouchy. Thankfully, my eye doc is in our building, and when I called at 8:30 this morning (as soon as they opened), they got me right in.

First a "Contact Lens Specialist" took me to a room and assured me it was just a sty. "You have millions of oil glands along your lash line, and some of them are blocked. Just use warm compresses and you'll be fine." I explained that due to the appearance of the little white dots, I thought it was more like a fever blister. "Yeah, the white dots are the blocked oil glands along your lash line. It's just a sty. You'll be fine. But the doctor will be in to see you." And off she went before I could point out that the white dots aren't, in fact, along my lash line at all, but right on the lid.

In comes the doctor, who takes one look and says, "Yeah, that's not a sty." No shit. I've had a sty before, and it wasn't like this. The sty looked disgusting but didn't hurt. This hurts like a mother.

Doesn't it just figure that it's on my left eye, too? I'm left-eye dominant, so the vision impairment is really bugging me.

Anyway, I'm to continue taking the Valtrex (kudos to Dr. M who pushed me into taking the first dose this morning, as soon as I got up), plus have two bottles of eye drops: a steroid and an anti-biotic. It should clear up in a few days. Silver lining: I don't have to fuss with eye makeup for awhile! And, because of the swelling, it takes much less effort to wink!

(Birfday shout out to Beanie! Hope you have a great day, sweetie!)

Monday, December 08, 2008

Farewell, Polaroid

This is the last month of the last year of production of Polaroid film.

I have mixed feelings about this. While I don't shoot Polaroid often (we still use Polaroids to do atta-girl and years-of-service shots at staff meetings), there's a certain bit of nostalgia wrapped up in the little square pictures with the white borders.

My folks used all kinds of cameras when I was growing up. They had a 35mm Yashica for years, a little Kodak 110, a disc camera, and, of course, the ubiquitous Kodak Polaroid. Quite of few of my childhood moments are captured on Polaroid film. They all look rather dark and bleak (could be that the 70s decor and clothes also played a part), but the memories are there.

Lots and lots of fine art has been created with Polaroid film, and there were all sorts of fun experiments you could do with the emulsion as it was developing (and after).

But, alas, digital has written Polaroid's obituary, and the instant photograph you can hand to someone has been replaced with the instant photograph you can show off on the back of your camera (and e-mail later). I'm definitely a digital fan, having been swayed to The Dark Side a few years ago, but there's a little pang of regret that my daughter will not remember how cool it is to watch an image magically appear before your eyes. Sure, she might get exposure to traditional darkroom developing, but she won't get to stand in the bright sunshine holding a photograph that grows less latent by the second.

If you have time this week, dig out an old Polaroid or two and just hold it, and realize that you've got a piece of history in your hands. Goodbye, old friend!

Sunday, December 07, 2008


Sorry no posts since Thursday. Friday was busy at work, then Friday night (into Saturday morning, then, after a brief sleep, all day Saturday) was spent readying the house for The 2008 Grand Lighting Celebration Saturday night. Party went well...lots of fun, food, lights... We'll try to get the show videotaped again this year and I'll post another clip.

Today was recovery from the party, which meant we really didn't do much of anything. Hung out with Stef and Nicole for a bit (thanks for the McAllisters!). Played with Zozer. Put away a basket of laundry and fell asleep on the couch while watching my Ansel Adams DVD.

M and I agreed today that we're in a pretty good spot for the holidays. We have two weeks left in our class, neither of which looks very difficult (even the final, which is on the easiest half of the class). Our home is decorated and clean (although it never stays that way for long, with a child and two cats)(and a husband). We have ideas for Christmas presents, which is always harder than actually shopping for them (we typically bang it out in a day or two...we're hyper-shoppers when we have to shop as neither one of us are shopper-type people). For the first time in months, I feel pretty relaxed and agreeable.

I'm sure something will come along to shoot that all to hell in no time. Tomorrow is Monday, after all.

But for right now, I'm just enjoying the illuminating glow my house now produces and the fact that our beer fridge still actually has beer in it. And eggnog.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


When I was a sophomore in high school, my guidance counselor called me into his office one day and said, "There's a program I think you'd like, but you need to take some tests to get into it. Want to try?" Being young and naive, I said, "Sure!" with no hesitation. I don't remember even asking much about what the program was or what the tests involved. We scheduled some times over the next couple of weeks and I'd show up and he'd put me through what I thought were some pretty silly tests.

I remember one involved looking at a design on a card and using some bi-colored blocks to make the design. My counselor timed me during this activity (and others) and carefully marked my times on an official-looking document. There were math problems, word problems, math-word problems (ugh, hate those, especially when they're timed) and essays. Vocabulary, memorization, multiple-guess, you name it. Having no idea, really, what we were testing for, or what was at stake, I wasn't too nervous and just tried to do my best.

A few months later, after I had all but forgotten about the goofy tests, my counselor called me back to his office. "Some of the tests you took were IQ tests, and you scored remarkably well." He showed me a bell curve and about where I fell on it, but he wouldn't tell me my actual score. He just said, "You're over XXX." (No, I'm not telling you, either.) (Let's just say I'm purty durned smart.)

Then he told me that the tests and essays were part of my application for a program called Missouri Scholars Academy, and that I had been accepted. I was to attend the program at the University of Missouri-Columbia for three weeks in the middle of the next summer. Uh. Okay. Cool beans?

I had no idea what to expect when I showed up that summer, but boy, did I get a surprise. MSA was a life-changing experience for me. Life. Changing. I was at the point where I was already sick of the cliques and snobbery at my high school and old enough to realize that, given the chance, I could actually shape people's opinions of me instead of being forced to follow what shallow-minded people had determined was my "label." Off I went to MSA, and for three weeks, I was me. Truly, wholely, absolutely, undeniably me. I wasn't afraid to be my nerdy self because I was in a whole crowd of nerds. Nerds in all different kinds of ways: music nerds and poetry nerds and protester nerds and engineery name it, there were nerds there. We reveled in our nerdness, our uniqueness, and we celebrated ourselves and each other for it.

On the first night, a big group of nervous nerds gathered for the opening reception. They had brought in a motivational speaker who taught us that, at any point in our lives really, we deserved a standing ovation. A Standing O, it was called. All we should have to do was ask for it. So, he asked, who wants to go first? There was some muted laughter and a few rumbles. The speaker waited patiently. Finally, one timid-looking boy gingerly stood up and declared, "I deserve a standing ovation!" The rest of us leapt to our feet, applauding, and the tradition was born. For the next three weeks, people would randomly stand up and announce, "I deserve a standing O" and they would get it. Can you imagine how remarkable that feels? (Some of us did it more than once.) In the dining hall, in class, hell, just walking across campus, you'd hear someone say it (sometimes yell it), and you'd drop what you were doing and gladly give it. It was affirmation of the highest order, and it was fantastic. You didn't have to say why you deserved one, or prove it in anyway. You didn't need to. We were all happy to give it for the simple reason that you were a fellow human being, and that was worth celebrating. What an absolutely great concept. I wish it was something we could pass to the rest of the world, but I don't see it happening any time soon.

Anyway, this morning I received an e-mail from one of my fellow MSA alum (who unkindly pointed out that we were in the class of 1989, which seems like an awfully long time ago). The MSA program is celebrating its silver anniversary this summer and someone is planning a ton of great events. I took a few minutes and completed the requested survey, which asked all sorts of interesting questions like, "What are your three greatest accomplishments?" Damn, all these years later and MSA is still getting me to think. Clicking through the MSA site, and looking over the list of fellow alums, memories came flooding back and I felt a huge crush of gratitude for the program, my fellow nerds (those with me in '89, those who came before me, and those who continue to come after me), the talented people who conceived and then established the MSA program, and my high school counselor, who apparently saw a little spark of something he thought was worth pursuing.

Just a little jaunt down memory lane tonight, thanks to an e-mail blast from the past. I love the little twists and turns of life.

(By the way, the title refers to yet another session from MSA with another powerful speaker, who taught us to sing in unison: Boomba...HEY! Boomba...HEY! Boomba HEY HEY HEY!" I don't remember the premise behind it, but I remember having a boatload of fun while singing it.)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Fall Montage

Zoe's latest work.

Bahchoo humbug

While M and Zozer are getting over their colds, I'm sinking down into the snot-infested pit of headcold hell. Blech.

Last two days/nights have been hectic. Work is filled with events (which end today at a luncheon, thankfully), and home has been filled with homework, which we wrapped up last night. That'll free up time for M to finish the Grand Lighting show, and for me to get downstairs decorated. These days, I'm most grateful for Dayquil, or rather the Walgreens version of it that costs less and is just as ineffective.

My goal is to get through the luncheon today (where I'm supposed to exude the health, wellness and vitality our spa promotes, all while sniffling, sneezing and blowing my nose incessently) and then go home and crash for awhile. Like, the rest of the day and possibly into the night.

It's distracting to try to think, compose and type all while you can hear yourself breathe. Or try to breathe.

We made gift baskets for one of the events last week and this week. I think I've eradicated most of the red and gold glitter from my work area, but every once in awhile I find a little pocket of sparkles. Normally, this would make me smile. Since I'm under the weather, I'm finding it highly annoying. Stupid cheerful glitter.