Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Tuesday, April 26, 2011


This shot is completely unmanipulated, except for cropping.  I snagged this through that part of the car windshield at the top that's tinted.  No, not while driving.  I was waiting for my mocha to be made at Starbucks, camped out in the drive-thru.  I realized I was squinting and thought, "Sun!  Holy's the sun!"  I dug out my sunglasses (unused for days), popped 'em on, looked up.  And saw this.  Moody clouds shrouding a bright sun.

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Shapes - Redux



We went to Easter Vigil Saturday night. First time since Zoe was born, I think. When they turned off all the lights in the church I realized just how much I missed it. The dark sanctuary slowly lit with candles, one by one. The rituals and rites. The feeling of community. The incense. The music. The reverence.
Outside, a storm raged. The stained glass windows were lit from without in brilliant flashes. It was beautiful, and only added to the mood.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Zoe's Big Night

After weeks of doing her chores and saving her money, and some generous donations by loved ones, Zoe had enough to buy her Build-A-Bear. We went tonight. She was so excited that we couldn't help but be excited for her. I'm also so damn proud I could cry. For the $18 bunny, she had worked for about $11. While this might not seem like a lot, keep in mind that she got there five and ten cents at a time. Sundays are special as she earns a quarter for emptying trash cans. She was laser focused on her goal, too, looking at things at Target frequently and saying, "No, I won't get that. I'm saving for my Build-A-Bear!"
She selected a pink bunny, and instructed the stuffer that she wanted it "squishy." She typed in her name, and her bunny's name, Strawberries, for the birth certificate. She was just beaming the whole time.
After, she wanted to look around at clothes and accessories. She has some new savings goals in mind, having found some things she likes. First up? Party underwear, of course!


Friday, April 22, 2011

How would anyone ever charge for them?

Bordeaux Bicycle

Thursday, April 21, 2011

New App!

I love fun new photo apps. Especially when they're free! Hello, Tiny Worlds.

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Thursday Swim

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Festive underneath

I talked to M this morning.  He and Zoe chatted about how excited she was today because (warning: double whammy ahead) it was Pajama Day and Babaloo Day.  Pajama Day is, well, pretty self-explanatory.  Babaloo is an entertainer who comes in once a year for an all-school assembly.  He farts and throws toilet paper all around and blows bubbles and does other things that preschoolers find incredibly hilarious.

Then, I dropped the bomb on him.  Poor boy, he's around the world and even in a different hemisphere, no less.  In other words, he's powerless to stop her.  I told him, "She requested, and is wearing, her party underwear.  Chosen especially for today."

First, there was silence.


Later, he told me he was tempted to ask two questions:
  1. What, exactly, is "party underwear?"
  2. Who do you expect to actually, um, see your party underwear?
Then he muttered, "I'm not gonna make it. Not gonna make it.  I'm gonna need to be tranquilized."

Is it wrong that I find his pain so funny?  I mean, it's fart/toilet paper cannon/bubbles funny.

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Ever notice how hard it is to get the ice cream truck to actually stop?
It's the universe's way of saying, "You don't need no ice cream, fatass." To which I reply, "F*ck the universe. I'm going to The Custard Station."

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Or, there's that

Zoe's teachers have been telling us that she's thisclose to reading, so we've been encouraging spelling and sounding out words and such.  This week at her Scholastic Book Fair I picked up a kindergarten level 1 reader (Splat the Cat Sings Flat, if you must know).  Last night, she carried it in and wanted to read.  by herself.  So we snuggled together on her bed and sounded out words together.  I was reminded again just how tricky the English language is (we have lots of silent letters, and it seems like "i" is pronounced about a bazillion different ways).  She continued reading this morning, doing quite well on her own, and wanted to tackle it again tonight.  She is determined to read, and she seems to be really getting the hang of it.

We were reading in her bed again tonight when the tornado sirens went off.  I sent her downstairs while I gathered the cats, blankets, flashlights, iPhone and laptop and headed down.  (No, I did not grab everything at once, although for a brief second I did consider trying it.)  We hung out under the pool table and continued to read.  She got stuck on a word, then finally figured it out, then sighed a big sigh and said, "Or, you know, you could just look at the illustrations."

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My last night in France, I walked the streets of Bordeaux with a colleague after dinner.  I needed a tripod, but didn't have one so there's some handshake in here.  It's okay.  I still love how it captures the feeling of a Bordeaux evening.

"Soir" means "night" in French.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

It's a good thing

Just made my first batch of homemade laundry detergent. This recipe had good reviews on the interwebs and is obscenely cheap. Took a bit of elbow grease (had to grate a bar of Fels-Naptha soap), but I watched a PBS special on John Muir while I did it. Ironic, yes?
I'm a regular Martha Stewart, I am. Only without the money. And the sewing ability. And the stick up my arse.
Nevermind. I'm nothing like her. I'm just cheap and have a desire to not harm my family or the environment with unnecessary chemicals.
So excited to try this out! Haven't been this jazzed to do laundry since we got the front-loader.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Preschool Mommy Happy Hour

She swims

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Petals & Puddle

Finding my way back

Ach, been horrible about blogging this week.  Trying to pack too much in, and it's mostly work-related.  My brain is telling me, quite rationally, that I need to incorporate more balance into my life.  All work and no play makes Amy cranky, eventually.  But right now, my job is making my heart sing.  I have so much to do, and I love every. single. bit.  I write all day, every day.  I consult on how to position issues to both external and internal audiences.  I work with a variety of great people in a variety of roles.  And I laugh.  A lot.

While I'm having so much fun at work, though, the other parts of "me" are laying low.  The photographer. The blogger.  And perhaps most unfortunately, the person who cleans my house.  Okay, so maybe I don't care so much about that last one.  The people who live with me do, though.

The only creative shooting I've done in a couple months was the morning I had in Bordeaux.  And my heart wasn't even really all that into it.  Maybe it was being in a foreign city by myself and feeling intimidated.  Maybe it was the pressure of having only two hours so you better make it count.  Maybe it was feeling like, as a photographer, it was expected that I would return home with a camera chock-full of phenomenal images since I was lucky enough to go to someplace as cool as Bordeaux, France.

I go through this regularly.  I wax and wane.  I shoot like mad and then I don't shoot at all.  And during the times I don't shoot at all, I worry about getting it back. That it that makes me want to shoot, have to shoot.  I mean, I've been a photographer for years.  What happens if, suddenly, I'm not anymore?  What happens if I'm just a writer?

I realize that this is pretty stupid.  Going through a damn existential crisis every time my photography goes fallow.  What I'm realizing, though, is that I can't force it to come back.  It'll return when it's damn good and ready.

I started to feel the itch this morning.  The itch to shoot.  Something.  Anything.  Just hold the camera and feel the weight of it, and the lens, and the ridges of the focus ring.  To look through the viewfinder and have my world reduced to a 3:2 aspect ratio where I get to decide exactly what's included and what's not.

It might be another week or so before I pick up the camera again.  Or hell, even dump the images from Bordeaux into the Mac and work on them (yes, guilty as charged...they are hanging out, latent, on the card, still in the camera, still in the camera bag, slung onto the floor of the darkroom upon my return).  I just need to take a deep breath and be still, knowing that I will return to it some day, and it will be everything I'm missing and more, and that the break, the ability to use a different part of my mind, will indeed have been worth it as I will be able to view the world with fresh eyes, once again.

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Note to self

Stop booking the damn 6:45 a.m. flight to Kansas City. It's not fun getting up at 3:30.
Quick trip...back Wednesday.
Not so much for M. He departed this morning for a 2-week APJ tour. (That's Asia-Pacific-Japan in his world-traveler-business-unit lingo.) Specifically Seoul, South Korea and all over Australia.
Lenexa, KS vs S. Korea and Australia. Good thing I went to France a couple weeks ago or I'd be green with envy. Okay, so maybe I'm a little green anyway.

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Thursday, April 07, 2011


I love my job.  Part of it includes sending out news releases to industry publications letting them know the great products and services my company offers.  Today, I've been given four new pubs to add to my media list:  Pig Progress, International Pig Topics, Pig 333, and American Association of Swine Veterinarians.

Since coming to work here, I've developed a fondness for chickens and now pigs.  Cats and dogs were a given before coming here, although they've been elevated.  Next up: ruminants!

You gotta love a job where you crack up laughing nearly every day over something like "International Pig Topics."

Can you imagine the trade shows?  The give-aways?  The advertising?

"Heeeeere pig pig pig pig!"

Oink oink.


Sign here, here, here, here, here, here, and here

I have spent the last two hours of my evening filling out employment paperwork.  The company for which I've been contracting for the last year is finally pulling the trigger and making me an honest woman.  I'm becoming a regular ol' employee with benefits and everything.  This is a good thing...a very good thing.

HR paperwork, on the other hand, is evil.  I believe it is designed to mess with your head.  It's an endurance test, developed to weed out the less-motivated candidates.  "You want a job?  Yeah?  Fill out these 9,000 forms and then tell me you still want the job."

I've had the joy of filling out, tonight, in no apparent order:

  1. My offer letter/acceptance (okay, so that's just a signature and date, but I still had to read the d*mn thing closely and it was looooong)
  2. Application for employment, which involved essentially writing out my entire resume
  3. State Withholding Allowance Certificate
  4. Beneficiary Designation for Employee Insurance
  5. Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification
  6. My company's Travel and Expense Policy and Guidelines Acknowledgement
  7. Secrecy, Non-Disclosure & Proprietary Rights Agreement
  8. Employee Profile (where I stated, yet again, my academic background)
  9. Consumer Report Disclosure and Authorization
  10. Background Check Release Form
  11. American Express Corporate Card Application
  12. 2011 Employee Enrollment Form for medical/dental/vision
And that's not all, boys and girls!  According to the checklist on top of the packet, I must still fill out some forms that weren't included:

13. Form W-F Federal
14. Authorization for Direct Deposit/Petty Cash Reimbursement Form
15. Employee Handbook Acknowledgement
16. Property and Wage Deduction Agreement

I have essentially disclosed my entire personal history, and must show up tomorrow with my drivers license, passport, social security card, and blank check for direct deposit set-up.  All of this is contingent on whether I pass my drug test.  Having never done drugs, I'm not worried about it, although something to take the edge off sounds pretty damn good right about now.

I think whichever HR company comes up with a way for a person to fill out one form and have everything automatically populate in the identical fields in all the other forms should win a Nobel prize.  And be given a million, million dollars.

I have signed my name so many times I think I may have purchased a second home.  M's name and vitals appear as well (he's my emergency contact, swell guy that he is).  And even Zozer's once or twice.

I'm not done yet.  There are still questions here and there.  I need to discuss the health insurance with M, as they make the decision difficult by giving you apples to compare to oranges.  His bi-weekly cost is higher than mine would be, yet all his co-pays are lower.  It's a calculated risk: how many times do I think I'll be visiting the doctor this year?  Well, hell, given my recent medical merry-go-round (resolved by me, thankyouverymuch), I'm kind of at a loss.  I'm usually quite healthy and rarely see any doctors.  Until, you know, I have excruciating jaw pain with no explanation.

I'm not even looking at the 401(k) information.  (No, M,  I don't have it yet.  Hold your horses.) M is positively salivating over the 401(k).  For good reason: it's offers a nice match - free money! - and is vested right out of the gate.  Alas, that will have to wait.

I'm going to bed now.  Happy but tired.  And gainfully employed.  Hallelujah.

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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Zoe's favorite place on earth

They opened Saturday. We've already been three times. Sunday we went twice.

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Monday, April 04, 2011

Paris/Bordeaux - the architecture series

Friday, April 01, 2011


Going on 24 hours awake. My checked bag did not make the last flight.
M, having had this happen to him multiple times, and being a man who does not require make-up, lotions or potions to function, is not feeling my pain.

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Not home yet, but home

I'm in Atlanta. So, not home yet but home in the country sense. Home in the "hey" sense as opposed to "bonjour." Thanks instead of merci. I love France, but I love America more.
I lost my passport in the Bordeaux airport (and then found it, obviously), and I nearly killed a Chinese man whose sheer travel ineptitude caused my brand new MacBook to crash to the ground off the security conveyer belt in Paris. Still steaming about that one. Also trying to figure out why I had to go through security three times today, having never left the secured area in any airport.
So, yeah, I'm really ready to be home. This last flight will be considerably shorter than the Paris-Atlanta route, during which I watched three full-length movies, read a bit, napped a bit, and waited for 20 minutes to use the lavatory. My goal in the lav is to get in and out of those things as quickly as possible. What do people DO in there?!
I return triumphant, though. I had escargot. I ate snails, and I liked 'em. Hard not to like something drowned in garlic and butter, though.

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