Wednesday, February 29, 2012



Spent a quiet night at home. Dinner at the table as a family, snuggling on the couch to watch Little House, reading "The Little White Owl" in bed. Heaven.

Then M and I settled down with two computers and two spreadsheets. (Party animals, we are.) Budget, and first general contractor bid numbers. Things got a little heated now and then (apparently I wasn't "embracing the numbers" to his satisfaction), but by the end of the evening we were cracking up and, once again, on the same page.

I don't know exactly what we'll cut and what we'll keep, going from plans to building our new home, but I know that no matter what we will be happy there.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

me & her


So very happy to be home.

Monday, February 27, 2012

change of plans


Changed my travel plans. Canceled KS leg and came straight home to my family. Sick daughter, sick husband. I'm glad I'm home, for them and for me.

Sunday, February 26, 2012



This is Molly. She's a Wheaten terrier who is sweet and adorable, and who kept me company all day today.

I woke up sore from yesterday's hike, and sniffly and feeling lazy. I bid my friends good luck, sent them on their way, and snuggled up on the couch with my MacBook and Molly.

I no longer feel like I'm drowning in work and personal emails. It was a relaxing yet productive day, and just what I needed. Granted, I still have a bajillion things on my plate, but I have a pretty good idea of scope and priority now instead of an ominous looming shadow of vague obligations and tasks. I'm organized again, with less than 50 emails in each email account. This is progress, given that when I started I had nearly 700 in my work inbox alone.

I'm ready to get back to work, and I'm really ready to get home. To Kansas tomorrow night, and STL the next after a day of meetings. I'm ready.

Saturday, February 25, 2012



We hiked with snowshoes a little over three miles to Mills Lake (elevation 10,400). Once there, we were rocked by 50-60 mph gusts of wind carrying snow. It felt like my face was being sand-blasted. The only thing to do was turn my back to the wind and brace. That worked well until the winds changed direction suddenly. At one point Lynn and I both held on to our guide's pack (to keep it from blowing away while he chased his hat that had blown away), and leaned back into the wind. I don't know how far I leaned, but let's just say that if there were no wind I'd have been flat on my butt.

We stood on three to four feet of solid ice and grinned at each other between gusts. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

Friday, February 24, 2012



Went for an "acclimation hike" this morning, in preparation for tomorrow's snowshoeing. Gorgeous.

We're not in Vegas anymore, Toto.

I captured this image of our little band of women, who are also gorgeous inside and out.

Thursday, February 23, 2012



It's good to be back in Estes Park.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

color tv


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

penny slots


photo fun in vegas

Monday, February 20, 2012



Sunday, February 19, 2012



Nothing tastes like insanely-expensive airport beer. Well, maybe insanely-expensive stadium beer, but at least you've got a ballgame to go along with it.

Saturday, February 18, 2012



Friday, February 17, 2012



I may have already done a frost shot for my 365 project, but I can't remember and I've had a few beers so I'm not really inclined to check. My other shots today include an extreme close-up of Max and a skyscape, both of which have been done recently, and a detail from a Budweiser bucket this evening, which is just tacky.

So frost it is.

Thursday, February 16, 2012



The Modern Maid isn't anymore (modern, that is), and so she was retired tonight. Which is to say we brought our old stove (which isn't quite as old as Ms. Maid but close) from the wrecker house and swapped them out.

It is very odd to see one's old stove in a different house.

Then again, we are experiencing a lot of new things these days so it's par for the course.

I'm happy to once again have the ability to make brownies, frozen pizza, and fish, among other things. One doesn't realize how much one uses the oven until one's oven is broken.

Shout out to my dad for his help in oven swapping. Thank you!!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

sunset + rain


I had three shots lined up for today but felt uncharacteristically undecided, so I let M choose.

Dear Nikon

Thank you. Thank you for finally, finally presenting not only a competitor to Canon's awesome 5D Mark II, but something better.

(For those of you wondering what the hell I'm slobbering over, it's this:
Truly, a thing of beauty.

And you can read all about its glorious 36.3 MP full frame sensor, 1080p video capabilities, and other awesomeness here.)

Now, darling Nikon, if you could just keep up with the crush of demand occurring because it's taken you a million years to come out with the D800, that would be great. Because M is in an open-wallet frame of mind and methinks that door may close the closer we get to construction.

Warm regards,

Caught up on some photography industry reading over lunch today. I should stay off the camera gear boards, really. Sigh.

Z Day

While our Valentine's Day didn't exactly go according to plan, I'd still consider it a success.

M ordered me gorgeous flowers that were mis-delivered to the home in which we no longer reside, not to my workplace as intended. I didn't mind a bit as I was just thrilled to get flowers, but he spent 45 minutes on the phone with FTD trying to track them down and I'm sure that's not how he wanted to spend part of his day.

We tried to order pizza from one of our local favorites, and M's phone call went a little something like this (after waiting on hold for 10 minutes):
M: I'd like a large pepperoni and mushroom pizza.
Pizza Lady: Okay, and what do you want on it?
M: Pepperoni and mushroom.
PL: Okay, what else?
M: I'd also like some cheese sticks.
PL: Great, small or large?
M: How many are in each?
PL: I don't know. What did you want on your pizza again?
M: Pepperoni and mushroom. Okay, skip the cheese sticks. I'd like two side salads.
PL: Why don't you just get one large?
M: Okay, one large salad.
PL: What do you want on it? And what do you want on your pizza again?
M: Ummm, well, whatever comes on the side salads I guess. Pepperoni and mushroom on the pizza.
PL: I don't know what comes on the side salads. And what do you want on your pizza?

Which is pretty much when the conversation ended. We had leftover spaghetti instead.

Zoe had attended a gymnastics Valentines party after school with a friend, and between that and the candy, cupcakes and cocaine given at school to celebrate, she was wired. This resulted in misbehavior, which resulted in the corner, which resulted in tears.

The three of us ended up sitting down to dinner, all unhappy and grouchy. Zoe burst into tears and said, "I'm sorry!" And then I burst into tears and said, "I'm sorry, too!" And M just looked at us with wide eyes. I think it still blows his mind that he lives with two females.

We had a big family hug and decided to start over. And so we did, and then had wonderful evening together. After Zoe went to bed, we popped "Top Gun" into the player and laughed at the trite dialogue and flimsy plot, and I informed him that Kelly McGillis is a happily-married lesbian and therefore he stands no chance with her, and he informed me that his call sign would be, simply, "Z."

Tuesday, February 14, 2012



I love that M knows my favorite flowers are gerber daisies, and that he knows that I'd rather have daisies over traditional roses, even (or especially?!) on Valentines Day.

(FYI, I gave M "Top Gun" for VDay. On Blu-ray no less. Yep. We're made for each other!)

I hope you all gave and received love today, and indeed that you give and receive it EVERY day.

Monday, February 13, 2012

VDay Prep

We are ready to go for Valentine's Day. She has written her cards according to instructions, and heart erasers are attached. Her box of chocolates is ready to go for her teacher. We used a tissue box, two toilet paper rolls and construction paper to create a castle for her to collect her Valentines. After she went to bed, I made rice krispie treats and used red food coloring to tint them pink. M's little gift is wrapped and card written, both hidden, which is an accomplishment in itself in our micro-home.

For the first time in years, I feel ready for Valentines Day. Unlike the year I took Zozer to preschool with no Valentines. The guilt from that will propel me for life, I think.

To: friend From: Zoe


Sunday, February 12, 2012

tea party


Saturday, February 11, 2012



Friday, February 10, 2012



She ate for a few minutes by herself, then called me in to see the Cheerios heart she made for her mama.

Thursday, February 09, 2012



We rediscovered the library tonight. Bliss. I've been away too long, my love.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012



Snow! We didn't get as much as I had hoped, but it was enough to make the world beautiful this morning.

The Nelly Fix

I've been pretty cranky since we moved. Okay, more than cranky. I've been downright b*tchy.

I couldn't figure it out. I mean, I've got everything moving in the right direction. Generally. Yes, moving is stressful, but it can't be worse than two years of grad school while working full-time and raising a child, right? If I can get through two years of that, I can get through anything, right?

In a call with my BIL the other day, I lamented about the lack of space in our temporary home. And when I say lack of space, I don't mean "it's a little tight." Or even, "we're a little cramped." Or, "this is a great way to downsize." I mean, "I have no f*cking space. And no f*cking place to put anything I need to keep/use, much less anything I might want to keep/use." He said that perhaps this experience is a great way for me to push back against my AR tendencies, to relax more.


When I was in college, I lived, at two different times, with two complete slobs. Those experiences pushed me from being a quirky neatfreak to full-blown obsessive compulsive about things being in their place. Don't blame me, blame them.

What I have learned in the last week+ of living here is that being in such tight quarters makes me want to scream if even one thing is slightly out of place. Which, if you've ever moved, means that in my world right now everything is way out of place.

So I run around and keep cramming things into places they don't really fit, in a vain attempt to get us to some semblance of organization. It works, for awhile. Until my family comes home.

And then today, on the phone with M, I lost my shit entirely. Full-blown melt-down. Since we have moved in here, I have lost numerous possessions, including one of the cats (almost). We have burnt dinner and melted a pot on a stove that has two settings: off and nuclear fusion. (Ironically, on this same stove the oven doesn't work at all.) I have sliced a finger open, and continue to bang various parts of my body into walls and furniture. When we melted the pot we damn near burned the entire place down. We've had to plunger both the bath drain and the kitchen sink, and we installed a low-flow shower head from the old house so that more than one person can have hot water for their shower in the morning.

In venting to a friend this morning, I said, "I feel like I'm as cranky as the woman who lived here before me." And we realized that there might be some serious negative energy going on in this space. She googled house cleansing and told me I need sage and to do something called smudging.

Well, I don't have sage, nor do I have anything smudge-worthy, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

I have two eucalyptus candles burning and Nelly blaring. We call it an "Urban Cleansing." A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012



Spectacular morning sky...


It's been bothering me a lot lately. How many books we have. Or, I should say, I have. Most of the books in our library are mine.

When I was little, I used to dream of having a whole room dedicated to, and filled with, books. Rows and rows, like a library. All mine, to read whenever I wanted. (Yes, I was/am a nerd. Whatever. I'm now comfortable with that label.) My grandmother would take me to my favorite local bookstore and tell me I could choose one or two books, and I would agonize over which one for the better part of an hour. I'm sure I drove her crazy, but she kept taking me. That's love.

I've always been an avid reader. I read in the car, on the bus to school, wherever. My mom likes to tell the story of how I had to ask for directions to my high school after I got my drivers license and could finally drive myself. I didn't know how to get there because I always had my nose in a book for the ride.

A few years ago Amazon introduced the Kindle. I turned my nose up in scorn. Who would want to forgo the lovely texture of paper, the exquisite binding, the perfect fonts? Yes, I love technology, but I love my books more. I had finally reached the point in my life where I did have the room full of books, and it was wonderful. We spent a lot of time in our "library." Zoe played in there for hours as an infant and toddler, and so it became a library/playroom. Guests would walk in and gawk at all the books. "Holy cow, have you read all those?" It was a source of pride.

Then, M gave me a Kindle for Valentine's Day. It was wholly unexpected. He beamed. "The guy who spoke at the conference I went to had one, and on a break he let me see it. I thought of how much you read and knew you'd like it. I went back to my room that night and ordered one for you!" He was careful to explain that he chose the Kindle specifically because it wasn't backlit. "You spend all day in front of a computer. Your eyes need a break. With the Kindle's magnetic ink system, it's just like reading from a book." Yeah, right, I thought. I was pretty much being an ungrateful little snot. I just knew I would hate this thing, and felt bad that he was so positive about it. (Turns out that one of the real reasons he was so gung-ho about the purchase was that he just knew I would only download the free books, thereby saving him a ton of money. Silly boy.)

And then, I used it.

Holy mother of all things literary, it's just about the coolest thing I have ever owned. A crap-ton of books, all in one little spot. I could flip back and forth at will. I could download books with a couple of button clicks. I could lay on one side and use only one hand to hold it and turn pages. It is awesome when traveling because it's very, very thin and lightweight, and I can stand in a boarding line with one hand on my luggage while holding/page turning with the other. Plus, as soon as I finish a book, another one is just waiting to be downloaded.

Turns out I don't miss paper books at all.

Since we just moved, I have had the opportunity to look at everything we own with a cold, calculating eye. "Do we really need this? No? Out it goes!" The books have come within my sights. I did give quite a few to the St. Louis Book Fair, figuring I no longer needed the giant hardback "Airplanes of War" that so intrigued me in high school (reference Nerd status) because a.) I'm a different kind of nerd now and b.) the info is so drastically outdated and c.) better info and pictures on the internets, duh.

I kept many others. My beloved Tom Clancy set. A whole series of biographies on the Founding Fathers (that's my new Nerdism). Anything signed, like my cherished Letters from Robben Island by Ahmed Kathrada. They were packed in boxes that sagged with their weight, and my movers silently cursed me a couple weekends ago.

But now? Now I wonder if I needed to keep all those. The signed copies, yes. Those are definitely special and cannot be replaced on the Kindle. And my gorgeous photography books. But pretty much everything else can probably go.

I lamented to M the other day, "I wish there was a program where I could turn in all my hard copy books and get the digital copies for my Kindle." He laughed and said, "I'll just pay you to get rid of them!" I thought more about it, and figured I'm not the only one in this predicament. So I did what any self-respecting nerd today would do: I googled it.

Turns out Amazon itself has a lovely book buy-back program. My pulse quickened. Yes! The first thing I saw was the process, wherein you search the program for the title you have to trade in (must be exact edition, etc.), find it, and click the trade-in button. The site gives you a label to ship the book back (free shipping!) and then once Amazon receives and enters it into the database, your account is credited. Heaven! Bliss! I'll start today!

And then, just to check it out, I searched for the Tom Clancys. Turns out I can trade in those lovely hardcover books and be credited anywhere from 65 cents to $1.45 for each. Wow.

So, that's not going to work. I have an issue with getting 65 cents for a book I shelled out 20 bucks for. It's the reason I still have my freshman chemistry book. I paid $70 for it and the student bookstore wanted to give me $5 for it at the end of the semester, when I knew they'd turn around and sell it for $60, especially since it was hardly used. (see Why I Am Not An Engineer.) It was the principle of the matter. I'd rather have a $70 doorstop than let the bookstore so blatantly profit from my lack of interest in basic chemistry. In current times, this translates to I think I'd rather give all my books to the Book Fair and at least let a charity benefit.

So that's where I am right now. A raging internal debate on what to do with all these f*cking books. Hopefully I'll figure out a solution before we move back into our new home.

Monday, February 06, 2012

man on a roof


Sunday, February 05, 2012



Unpacked and set up the iMac today. NOW it's starting to feel like home.

Saturday, February 04, 2012



Friday, February 03, 2012

details of today

Lots of fun things to look at today, starting with a gorgeous sunrise. An ancient record player and its 45, which gave us scratchy music for square dancing in Zozer's PE class. And keys for our temp home, since we started with only one for the front door and M left it at work last night.

All in all, a pretty fine day.

more hundreds

Bouncy balls, marshmallows, and perhaps my favorite: ninja stars!



Zoe glued 100 pennies onto posterboard to celebrate her 100th day of school. I've got examples of other students' projects, but this is my photo for today. Because it makes me think of her, and the memory of working on this with her the weekend we moved. It makes me smile.

(Note that the pennies are all tails-up. She is, after all, her father's daughter.)

Thursday, February 02, 2012



I chose "focus"'as my one little word this year, and my mama got me this necklace for Xmas. I wear it daily.

I chose focus because I knew that while 2012 is going to be awesome, it's also going to be insane and busy and frantic and trying. I want to remember throughout this year to remain focused on what is really important.

A secondary reason is that I'm attempting my first 365. A photograph a day for a year. I'm using the iPhone for this, as I recognize my time limitations are higher than ever right now. Using the iPhone frees me up to shoot the details of my everyday life, regardless of where I am, simply because I always have my phone with me. And I can shoot, edit, and post in under a minute, which will NEVER happen with a dslr.

So here's to focus, in all its beautiful shades of meaning.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012