Friday, May 28, 2010


I took Zozer to school this morning, realizing that this is her last day in the Bunny Room.  I was sad, but it didn't really hit me until we were walking down the hallway and I saw that her cubby had already been cleaned out, everything neatly stored in a bin that will go to the Bear Room cubbies this afternoon.  Ms. Shari was standing there with a spray bottle of cleaner and a rag, wiping down the boxes.  We looked at each other and, when tears sprang to my eyes, she looked away quickly.  "Stop it!  If I don't think about it, I'm okay!  I can pretend it's not happening!"

Zoe isn't the only one who bonded with her teachers this year.

I took some pictures of Zoe with Ms. Shari and Ms. Caroline, and looked around the classroom with sadness.  It is stripped down and devoid of anything specific to the children who are moving on.  I remember it looking similar when Zoe started in the Bunny Room last June, but it had slowly morphed into a place representative and reflective of our children.  Zoe and her friends, both new and old (some moved with her from the Elephant Room, some moved on to other rooms).  Now the room looks almost barren.  I lingered and thought about how often I will have to deal with these changes, seemingly small and insignificant.

I know I am not the only mom thinking about these things.  I spoke to the mother of Zoe's BFF, Kaitlyn, yesterday morning.  Kaitlyn doesn't go to school on Fridays because Carrie is off, so yesterday was her last day in the Bunny Room.  In the middle of our chat, Carrie asked, "What time are you getting to school on Tuesday?"  "I dunno...why?"  She wanted to ensure that Kaitlyn got there when Zoe did, so they could start their new room together.  We agreed to be there at 7:30.  We also agreed that this transition is way harder on us than it is on the girls.  She admitted that she's already dreading kindergarten, as Zoe and Kaitlyn will no longer attend the same school.

I realize my child will grow up, and I'm happy that she seems to be a happy, well-adjusted little girl. I looked at her as she dozed on my bed this morning, taking in the long, lanky legs (like her father's), the long, curly hair, and the relaxed ease and grace that belied the strength and kinetic energy she normally exudes.  I marveled at how tall she's getting and remembered how tiny she was when she was born.  She opened her eyes, saw me looking at her, and just smiled.  Her unspoken message: "Everything will be okay, Mommy."

I know it will be.  I just need to figure out my own way of dealing with transition and change.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Zoe's many faces

As a mother and a photographer, I am always looking to get that one shot, capture that one moment that shows the spirit of my daughter.  I take shot after shot after shot, and spend hours editing and culling down, trying to find the best one.

I love it when I can get something that I know will enable me to remember things I otherwise wouldn't.  Like when she's first learning to wink, and wants to practice all the time.  She pretty much looks like a pirate saying "Arrrrgggghhhhh," but she's getting there.

And then, as usual, I am reminded that I am indeed photographing a child of four.  Who goes to preschool with other four-year-old children.  And learns things that I wish she wouldn't.  This is typically followed by, "Mommy, let me see!  Let me see!" and then uncontrollable giggling.  I must acquiesce or everything grinds to a halt as far as photography is concerned.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Silly Hair Day

This is Zoe's last week in the Bunny Room at school, which I think is more upsetting to me than it is to her (I adore her teachers in the Bunny Room).  To celebrate their transition, her wacky teachers Ms. Shari and Ms. Carrie planned all kinds of fun and goofy stuff this week.  Today was Silly Hair Day.

If you look closely, you can see that Hootie got in on the silly hair action, too.  As much as he could.  Being an owl with feathers and all.  With one of Zoe's heart pigtail bands on his head, he looked more like a hippie owl than a silly-haired owl, but we went with it.

You can't see it in this picture, but by this point, Zozer had gotten her braids sprayed.  One was purple, one was red.  Awesome.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Lost Rant

I am so happy that Lost is over.  Because now I don't have to hear about it anymore, or see numerous headlines on the "news" pages about it, or watch 500 people make it part of their Facebook status updates every week.  The end of a TV show is not news to me.  It really shouldn't be news to anyone.

Nothing that happens on television should be that important, except for maybe the President's State of the Union address (whomever happens to be in office).  Because this person is running the freakin' country for  Pete's sake.  This shouldn't have to be stated, but sadly, it seems to be a point lost to those who think that whatever is happening with a character called McDreamy is the most important thing in the universe.  Instead, the State of the Union is when most Americans sigh and use their Tivo to catch up on their missed Lost or Gossip Girls or The Hills or whatever freakazoid show.  I hear about a reality show featuring some woman named Snooki and I shake my head. I mean...really?

I used to watch TV.  Back in the day, we were regular Thursday night watchers of NBC.  That was the Friends era and the like.  And I was totally, completely, unabashedly addicted to The West Wing.

And then a little thing happened called grad school, where spare time was so precious and rare that there was no way in hell we were going to spend it glued to the boob tube.  Since graduating, we are reveling in the freedom and taking advantage of our time.  We work hard and play hard and spend our time doing things that count, that at the end of our lives won't leave us wondering where the hell the time went.

I confess, I did have one rough day recently where I was tired and grouchy and wanted nothing more than to sit my ass on the couch and let my brain drizzle out of my ear.  We did that for a few hours, then got into a huge fight.  M stated the evening was a total waste and the shows were ridiculous and hardly qualifying as actual entertainment, and because I was tired and grouchy I argued back with him.  Mainly I was pissed because he was right and we had wasted an entire evening.

We spent the bulk of the weekend outdoors.  We worked on the yard, cutting grass (M) and planting flowers in patio pots and beds (me).  We purchased, installed, and filled a new birdfeeder.  M replaced the exploded clutch plate on the lawnmower and I cleaned the patio furniture and the patio.  It was 90 degrees and it was fantastic.  All I kept thinking about was how for the last two years we were confined to the house, and how good it felt to be outside.  M wandered over, taking a break from pushing the mower, and grinned, "Isn't this great?!"  I swear, we feel like we have been freed from a prison sentence.  At the end of both days we were tired, sweaty and had bits of grass (M) and mulch (me) stuck to us.  We were disgusting...and happy.

I hope I never go back to a lifestyle that involves making television a priority.  Life is too short.  I'd rather get lost in actually living than in network programming.  Want to come over and have a glass of wine on my patio? It's real purty now with flowers and such.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Britain's Got No Design Talent

I love Olympic mascots.  Almost as much as I love the Olympics (and a certain short-track speed skater).  My interest in the mascots started when I was interning at a huge PR firm and worked on some post-Atlanta Olympic events for one of the Anheuser-Busch theme parks.  As an intern, I was sent on a business trip to work the event and, as a perk, I got to party with actual Olympians.  Let me just say that you should never go head-to-head on drinking alcohol with swimmers and divers.

Anyway, because of that great experience, I became well-acquainted with Izzy, the mascot for the Atlanta games.  We even have a Christmas ornament of Izzy.  He's kinda funky looking, but the Olympic rings are scattered around his body and he's brightly colored, cheerful and happy and what's not to like about all that?

So today, when I saw the link on CNN titled, "Official mascots of 2012 Olympics in London revealed," I had to click over and see what the Brits came up with.

Oh.  My.  God.  WTF are those?  I mean, I realize Izzy is a little odd, but he at least has two eyes and a mouth that, with a big ol' shit-eatin' grin, conveys his enthusiasm for competitive sporting events. He at least jauntily marches while proudly toting a star-spewing Olympic torch.  Hell, he's even got lightning bolt eyebrows that don't actually reside on his body.  What I'm saying is, he has some human attributes, however remote, that make him somewhat relatable.

I almost started laughing when I saw the picture, but gamely plunged into the article looking for some semblance of an explanation.  I got this: their names are Wenlock and Mandeville, and they were "inspired" by two drops of molten steel spilled while making the last girder for the Olympic stadium.

And then apparently a couple designers got high and came up with these two things. (Okay, so the article didn't say's just my assumption based on what was produced.)

First, the cyclops thing simultaneously creeps me out while making me totally crack up over the inevitable "ol' one eye" jokes that are bound to fly.

Second, the blue one looks like he peed his pants. Nevermind that his head looks like the ergonomically-correct garden rake we bought from Home Depot eight years ago.

Third, the short legs are reminiscent of low-crotch-wearing imbeciles (pants on the ground, pants on the ground, lookin' like a fool wit yer pants on the ground!).  Would like to see any Olympian in any sport try to compete with pants like that.

What completely sent me over the edge while reading, though, was the last line of the article: "Early reviews of wenlock and mandeville are not complimentary."

Uhhhh, ya think?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

PhotoWalk Tuesday, revisited

I love having a little companion on my photowalks.  She inspires me to look at things from a different (shorter) perspective.  She keeps me hopping.  She reminds me just how annoying it is to chimp after every. single. shot.  "Look, Mommy!  Good shot...good shot."  While I don't want to stifle her enthusiasm, I also don't want her to be so busy looking at the LCD screen that she misses another "good shot."  I'm trying to teach her that it's okay to look every once in awhile to make sure she captured what she wanted, but it's better to show your images all at once.  Later.  After editing.  (Ya'all have heard me expound before on the importance of editing, so I don't need to get into that again.) (Except to say that more people should edit.  Heavily.  Before showing their images to everyone.  Or anyone.  Or at least me.)  I realize I'm guilty of the over-chimping thing, which is probably why I'm so sensitive to it with her.  I'm in essence trying to train both of us.

I decided to go on the walk yesterday after blogging about how much I wanted to go out and shoot.  "What's stoppin' ya?" a little voice said.  "Hell if I know," another answered.  (Which is when I started to get a little worried about the two-way conversation going on in my head, but then promptly moved on when I realized that it was, at least, a logical conversation.)
Then a part of me (a third voice?) groaned at the idea of lugging a bunch of weight around.  I didn't feel like being burdened, or unwieldy.  Not that I don't love my gear...I do.  It's just that my workhorse lens, the one I use 99% of the time, weighs as much as a Yugo.  I decided to step out of that rut, that routine, and use a different lens.  And I remembered that it's been ages since I used my sweet little 50mm prime.  A prime lens is simply one that is not a zoom.  It's got a fixed focal length.  While that seems rather limiting, it can really be freeing at times.  And forces you to see differently and "zoom with your feet."  It's fast as hell at f/1.4, and it's got phenomenal optics.  Just gorgeous.  It's not actually 50mm on my D300, though, because it's one of them there ol' fashioned lenses made fer film cameras ('member those?), so the difference between the size of a 35mm frame of film and the sensor in the D300 means I have to multiply the focal length of the film lenses by 1.5.  So my sweet little 50mm prime becomes a 75mm prime, which is fine.  It's also the smallest (read: lightest) lens I own.
I took off the 17-55mm (seriously, you could do reps with this thing and build up some serious bulk) and mounted the 50mm.  Then I got really wild and crazy and removed the quick-release tripod mount plate.  Gasp!  What resulted was a greatly pared down camera that didn't feel like it was banging into everything as I walked.
What also resulted was a completely different way of shooting than what I'm used to.  Because of that f/1.4 focal length and good light, I could open the lens wide and get wicked short depth-of-field.  I've been wanting to experiment with DOF for awhile now, and shooting yesterday made me wonder why it took so long.  I might have to continue with this experiment for awhile.
Yeah.  I told you her shots were better than mine.  Ah, well, at least I was shooting!


Shhhhh.  Don't tell M, but I ran home over lunch and got The Car.  So much fun to drive.

Hee heeee!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

PhotoWalk Tuesday

Zozer and I took advantage of the gorgeous weather after school/work and went on a little photowalk around our neighborhood.  I dare say her shots are better than mine.

In fact, I think they're so much better than mine, that I'm not even going to try to compete.  I present to you, ladies and gentleman, Zozer, Photographer Prodigy.

Editor's note: these images are unretouched.  They are completely raw, straight out the camera, with the exception of the trashcan.  That was a little washed out so I nudged the levels just a tad.  The rest of 'em are straight Zoe...nary so much as even a crop.  Damn, the little bugger can shoot!

Blue skies smilin' at me

OMG it's the sun.  And blue skies.  I'm not quite sure how to process good weather.

It's really amping up my photo mojo and there's not a darn thing I can do about it, seeing as how this is not a weekend and therefore I am at work with nary a camera or a photo op in sight.

Match that with listening to Lady Gaga on the way in (Hello hello baby you called I can't hear a thing...I have got no service in the club ya see see...what what whaaaaat did you say aw you're breakin' up on me...sorry I cannot hear you I'm kinda busy) and a mocha and I've got ants in my pants.  SO want to go out shooting today.  Sigh.

On another note, it seems my dealer has unfortunately gotten  Smarter.  We're heading into warmer months where I don't drink as much coffee.  At least not hot coffee.  For Starbucks, this means they lose one of the customers that buys enough to actually own her own store by now.  I loyally return in the fall, but for summer, I'm quite truant.  I tried their frappuccinos once or twice but gave them up after learning that the drink comes pre-mixed and allowed for no modifications.

Those of you who know me realize that I am the queen of coffee drink mods.  It's impossible for me to drink coffee, black.  I have to have cream and sugar at the least, and preferably a healthy dose of chocolate.  If drinking a Starbucks treat, I attempt some semblance at healthiness by asking for skim milk and skipping the whip cream.  Because, you know, that totally makes up for the chocolate.  Top that with the intervention my colleagues had about 10 years ago where I was sat down and instructed to immediately switch to decaf because my morning perkiness is annoying enough at regular, non-caffeinated levels and you arrive at my convoluted Starbucks order.

Since they were pre-mixed, frappuccinos couldn't be customized.  Which means at the very least, someone's gonna be scraping me off the ceiling by 9 a.m. due to the caffeine intake.  So, alas, no fraps for me.  Because I couldn't partake of the cool deliciousness without dire consequences I became a 3-season Starbucks junkie instead of a year-round coffeeholic.

Until now.  The fine folks at Starbucks figured this out, apparently, and I was handed a little flyer by the barista today.  "New!" it screamed.  It had a frappuccino pictured and some goofy little drawings in the ubiquitous Starbucks green.  Upon reading it, I learned that Starbucks frappuccinos are now completely customizable just like their hot coffee drinks.  I can get a decaf grande nonfat no-whip frappuccino instead of a mocha.  Bliss.

(This is where M throws his hands heavenward and screams, "Why, God?  Why?")

As a famous squirrel once said, it's marketing trickery. Tricky b*stards.  F*ckin' tricky.

Monday, May 17, 2010

My new standing in the family

M flew off this morning for his monthly visit to his team in Rhode Island.  Last night, as he returned from taking the trash out to the curb (and therefore had to pass the newest horse in the stable), I noticed he was pouting.  "Are you sad to be leaving her?" I asked.  He nodded woefully.  I handed the key fob to him and he went and sat in the Corvette for a few minutes before coming in.

I let him have his good-bye, and then pointed out to him that in all the years of marriage (it'll be 13 in October), the boy has never shown any physical signs of distress at leaving his wife when going out of town on business.  He said, "I'm always sad to leave you."

Uh huh.  Right.

Usually it's all, "Woo hoooo!  I'm goin' outta town!  Starbucks at the airport, a crappy rental car I can drive like I'm racin' NASCAR at Darlington, and a bed all to myself in my favorite Hampton Inn - where they have make-yer-own waffles every morning for breakfast!"

I started to notice a change when, before we even picked her up in Bowling Green, he was buying her presents like money was no object.  She had logo'd floormats waiting for her (we actually took them to Kentucky with us in the rental sense in making her go without for even a day).  Her car cover was on order.  Her splash guards were on back-order (they've since been delivered...whew!).  Last night he breathlessly described the jacks he wants to buy, claiming, "I'm saving us money because I don't have to purchase the lift pucks!" or some such nonsense.  I've started to tune out his ramblings.

All this from the same man who said to me, "We're not spending that much on a cell phone!" upon hearing my request for an iPhone.

So, I see where I stand.  One notch below the gleaming beauty who roars at the touch of a button and whose navigation system puts my map-reading skills to shame (admittedly, I rely on left-right directions since my north-south comprehension is, shall we say, lacking).  So she takes her top off with the flick of three switches and makes heads turn (both men and women).  As if that's impressive?


I give up.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Friday, May 14, 2010

Oh yes we did

M and I took off Sunday for a little jaunt, a little get-away.  To those who asked, we said, "Oh, we're going hiking."  What we didn't tell them was that we were going hiking in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  In the Corvette Assembly Plant.  Which is next to the National Corvette Museum.  Where our new, custom-built, 2010 Jetstream Blue Metallic Grand Sport Corvette waited for us.

Here she sits, in the delivery hall of the National Corvette Museum.  
The sign to the left tells visitors that they're looking at OUR car.

After the plant tour, and the museum tour (both phenomenal and worthy of their own posts), Michael received an orientation on the car from Lance, our delivery specialist.  Which is necessary since the cockpit looks like it could fly the space shuttle or something.

I think this image might replace the one of the two of us on our wedding day.

Lance drove her out of the museum (liability reasons precludes new owners from driving out) and parked her around front for more pictures.

This is one happy boy.  I'm pretty sure he didn't stop smiling for 48 hours.  We left, and M said, "I don't want to go back to the hotel.  Let's just drive around."  So we did, stopping only for a nice dinner at a local place called Mariah's.  After he took me past the Bowling Green Water Treatment Facility three times, and the same coffee shop with two people sitting outside four times, I made him leave Bowling Green proper.  Then he drove around the outskirts for awhile longer before grudgingly heading back to the hotel.

Our first stop after leaving the museum was to head back across the street to the assembly plant, where this amazing mural is painted on the wall outside the visitor entrance.  

Then M wanted a shot of the sign showing her birthplace.

This was the sign at our hotel.  Appropriate, yes?

Here she is, home at last, "tucked in" for the night (M's words, not mine).
I heard the squeaky door from the family room to the garage whine a bunch of times that night, and I knew he was just checking on her.

Some FAQ's about our little adventure:
  1. Yes, we've known about this for awhile.  We had to special-order the car over a month before we could take delivery.
  2. No, we didn't tell anyone.  Some things are more delicious when shared just between the two of us.
  3. It has 436 horses under the hood.  And it's all rumbly and growly and awesome.
  4. My car is the one booted from the garage, by my own suggestion.  It's the oldest and the most logical to park outside.  And M promised to help scrape the snow and ice off it in the winter.
  5. No, we haven't "punched it" yet.  The first 500 miles are to be fairly tame, with no cruise control and no high sustained speeds, dramatic acceleration, or sudden stops.  The seals have to, well, seal, and the suspension has to settle.  So we plugged "no main roads" into the navigation system and had a wonderful, relaxing drive home through rolling farm country.
  6. Yes, it's a stick.  Yes, I know how to drive a stick.  Yes, I've driven it.  No, M didn't have a heart attack.  (Does a small stroke count?)  Yes, he will "let" me drive it whenever I want.  It's our car.
  7. Yes, we'll take you for a ride if you want.  (M will take any excuse to drive it...and is going crazy with all the rain the past few days.)
  8. No, you can't drive it yourself.

Sunday, May 09, 2010


Thursday, May 06, 2010

Muffins and stones and honors, oh my

Big day today, for me.

First thing this morning, Zozer and I had "Muffins with Mom" at her school.  I walked in to find a wrapped package adorned with a flower pin.  The flower pin is constructed of foam shapes that Zoe glued together, and her little picture is in the center.  I'd have been perfectly happy with that, but then I got to unwrap the package.   She made me this:
How adorable is that?  She told me, "Mommy...I used lots of green jewels because I know green is your favorite color."  Then she pointed to the purple stone in the lower right corner.  "This one's for me, because I like purple."
We had our muffins together, and an apple, and I had to laugh at her choosing to dip her apple slices into her apple juice.  Were the slices not appley enough?  Anyway, it was a perfect start to the day, and I loved every minute of it.

Then, tonight, M and I were inducted into the national honor society for business students, Delta Mu Delta.  It's supposed to be a pretty dang big deal because grad students must have a 3.97 GPA to be invited.  M calculated it out...that means that, at the very worst, you have to earn all As and one B+.  Anything lower than that and you're not eligible.  Our 4.0s made us shoo-ins, naturally.

Dean Benjamin Ola Akande gave our keynote.  The man is so freakin' way cool.  We had the pleasure of speaking with him for a few moments during the reception after the ceremony.  He's the kind of person I'd like to take to dinner, because I know the conversation would be interesting and varied.  Plus he has that awesome Nigerian accent and tweets like a mofo.  Listening to him speak, and talking to him afterwards, I've never felt more proud to be a Webster University graduate.  Correction: Webster University George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology graduate.  That renaming of the B school just happened recently, like, within the last couple weeks, and they've already got the new name everywhere.  He was there, too, by the way.  George Herbert Walker.  Another cool guy, and another one I'd like to buy a beer.  So, all in all, it was a wonderful evening.  Here's M with Dr. Akande after the ceremony:
A big day indeed.  And tiring.  So it's off to bed for me!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


All I can think about today is food.  (steak)  I am not sure why I'm so freakin' hungry, but I am.  (spaghetti)  Or at least I think I'm hungry.  (sushi)  I could seriously go raid the work fridge right now and just chow down. (smashed potatoes)  Except that a.) none of the food in there is mine and b.) most of it no longer resembles food.  (chili)  Although at this point, the lack of edibility isn't really a strong deterrent.  (nachos)

Every once in awhile I have a day like this.  (froot loops)  It's hard to not just graze throughout the day.  (jimmy john's italian night club samich)  Part of me thinks that it's okay to have a pig-out day every once so often.  (toasted ravioli)  Just so long as I don't let it become a regular habit.  (waffles)  Hence the conundrum: define "regular."  (pasta house salad)  Is once a month okay? (pizza rolls)  Is bi-monthly acceptable? (my mother-in-law's cheesy potato casserole)

Zozer and I have to run an errand after work/school.  (lasagna)  M is at home tossing mulch.  (ramen noodles)  This means that not only will dinner be late, I actually have to be the one to cook it.  (meat balls)  As you well know, I do not cook.  (rare ahi tuna)  I'm more of a heater.  (soft pretzel)  And even then, I don't do well when I have to heat multiple things.  (buffalo wings)  The stress of ensuring everything is done at the same time is too much.  (moo goo gai pan)  This is why I am fond of one-pot meals.  (french onion soup)  And dining out.  (imo's pizza) (or dewey's pizza)  (or racanelli's pizza)  (omg pizza)

Sigh. (cheese) And it's hours until dinner.  (pickles!)

Monday, May 03, 2010

Planning for the future

As I'm tucking her into bed tonight, for the second time (potty break!), Zoe tells me this:

"Mommy? When I grow up and I have a baby and she's four or maybe three I'm going to make her go to bed early and I'm going to stay up later...just a little later...and then I'll go to bed."

A gift

Sometimes, when you're having a bad day and you learn something shitty (that, it turns out, you probably really knew all along but just hadn't admitted it to yourself...again), all it takes is this to make everything better.  It's not just a little yellow flower.  It's the love that goes with it.  It's the joy of being "mommy" to someone.  It's the awesomeness that comes with being someone's world.  It's the humbling responsibility of knowing you hold her hopes and dreams and love and life in your hands and your heart.

Somehow, that always makes everything better.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Photo Booth

I love photo booths.  Love love love them.  There are several issues with this: a.) they are few and far in between these days and b.) they're usually ungodly expensive.

Tonight, though, we went to cousin Dan's birthday party at America's Incredible Pizza Company.  Don't let the name fool you...they also have a salad bar, a taco bar, a dessert bar, and baked potatoes.  Anyway, the game section of the place has a photo booth, and for three bucks, you can get four low-resolution snaps of whomever you want.

So my little family and I had fun.  "!  Now Mommy and Daddy kiss Zoe!  Okay, goofy faces!  Smile again!"

We were cracking up.  I think they turned out pretty well. Especially #3 there.  Classy.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

May Day

Any wonder I was so homesick?
Happy May!