Thursday, January 31, 2013



We have our largest fundraiser of the year at work this Saturday night. The theme is based on Kentucky Derby riff. There is horse stuff everywhere. I went down to the gyms today to see how set up was coming along and have lunch with the hard-working moms who are pulling it all together. Someone, clearly someone brilliant, convinced Father Paul to wear this horsey hat.

This, my friends, is why I love my monks. They are so good natured (well, MOST of them) and sweet.

Monks are cool.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013



I think it's a good thing that the design of my home knocks my socks off every single time I walk through the door. I just can't wait to do it multiple times a day.

I should ask for forgiveness now...once we finally get in I may never wish to leave. "Sure, we'd love to get together! You have to come here..."

This morning I saw the clerestory wrapped in hardwood for the first time. Over a year of imagining it, and there it is. It's even more beautiful than I had pictured in my mind, and I have a pretty active imagination. It'll be even better once it's all done.

I got to see most of my walls painted, too. I held my breath before going in. What if we chose weirdo colors? What if I didn't like it? No worries. The colors are gorgeous. Rich hues that give life to the room even without furniture or floor.

Slowly, slowly...we're getting there.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013



I love that one of her most favorite things to do is sneak into our bed after we kiss her goodnight in her bed. We don't make a habit of it, so it's a special treat when she's given the nod.

Then it's a treat for me hours later when I get to pick her up and carry her back to bed. Warm and snugly and sound asleep. Sweetness personified in the long gangly legs hanging way down now and the skinny arms wrapped around my neck. She'll always be my sweet baby.

Monday, January 28, 2013



Well, this is a first. At least where we've caught him.

Posting early tonight as we are determined to go to bed at a decent hour tonight. M was up for a 2:30 a.m. call and felt like he had caught a red-eye flight all day. I'm just your average ordinary brand of tired.

Shower, then bed. My pillow is calling and who can resist that?



Today kicked off Catholic Schools Week, so after Mass we had doughnuts in the cafeteria and a Zoe-guided tour of her school. She is obviously quite proud of her school and especially her classroom. Everything was described in great detail. She even showed us her empty locker (during the school day it holds her coat and backpack) and then climbed inside. I snapped a picture and we continued on our tour.

It wasn't until later when I was processing the day's images that I realized just how grown up she looks in this photograph. Well, I guess she IS growing up. And there isn't a damn thing I can do about it.

More house work today. M says it's just like grad school: an endurance test. We're both fed up with making decisions and then learning of other options and having to go back and discuss it all over again. Or working frantically on something for weeks, then having it lapse for weeks for reasons both beyond and within our control, only to have to come back to it and feel like most stuff STILL isn't done. Progress feels excruciatingly slow sometimes, both ours and the builder's. The list of questions and decisions to be made is never-ending and seems to grow longer with each passing day. It feels right now as though it will never be done. We will never move in. We will just be stuck in this purgatory of decision-making with no realized benefit.

This, too, shall pass. I know this. And yet still I sulk and moan and complain. I'll blame it on the weariness. For we are indeed growing weary, as most do near the end of the long race.

Sunday, January 27, 2013



Today and tonight we looked at window treatments. And shelves for closets and a pantry. And lights. And doorbells. And cabinet pulls. And kitchen faucets. (AGAIN.)

Then we came home and worked on the budget and a closet plan and then we got into a fight and then we made up.

I really, really just want this damn thing to be done. I'm tired. He's tired. We're both cranky as hell and rapidly reaching our collective breaking point.

Monday marks one year of living in a state of transition. This is not an anniversary I want to celebrate. I want my home back.

Friday, January 25, 2013



This is what we found as we walked up to the door of Zoe's school to pick her up from after care.


Thursday, January 24, 2013



The fireplace has stone. Finally.

Does this mean we are stoned?

Sorry. Juvenile humor. I work in an all-boys school. Bound to happen some time.

I'm struggling to get excited about the stone. I think it might be because I got exasperated with the seemingly endless delays associated with it. Now I want to see big changes. Hardwood floors. Painted walls. Cabinets and counters and appliances. Clerestory beams.

I'm ever so patient, as I'm sure you can tell.

C'mon guys. Let's GO.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013



Happy day to my incredible hubby!

Great night at home, just the three of us, with more laughter than the last six months combined. We all needed that.

I love you, darling M, and our life together. Bad pony, brozz, unsolicited wheeking, and a daughter who obviously inherited a wicked smartass streak from both her parents...and that was just tonight. Isn't this an awesome ride?!

(I'm afraid to admit that I was too busy today to really look for a great image, but there it is. So, once again, I aim for the nearest cat. Who is obviously sour and grumpy for being photographed yet again.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013



I didn't expect snow today, and was pleasantly surprised to look up from my work to see big fat flakes drifting down.

And then I learned that two of our students were caught drawing representations of the male anatomy in the parking lot's front circle. Such is life at a boy's school.

A busy day with a dash of stress thrown in near the end, but perfectly manageable. I really do love my job.

I'm absolutely beat now, though, so it's time for a hot shower and then my snuggly bed. Perfect on this freezing cold night.

Monday, January 21, 2013



Zo-bug and I had a fun, productive day off. We even had lunch with Daddy, picking him up at his office and dropping him back off after.

It was so nice to have a "catch-up" day. A bonus day with no obligations other than doing what we wanted. We stopped by the house and hit Sam's, Target and multiple mall stores. House is picked up, laundry is done, and new house crap nearly caught up (i.e. I no longer feel as though I am drowning in construction decisions) (I suspect that will last approximately eight hours).

Zo and I had a couple tickle fights and several in-depth discussions regarding future Build-a-Bear purchases. We watched Toy Story and snuggled. Tonight, she read for almost 45 minutes; she wants the Six Flags Read to Succeed award. She read to herself, and to us, and to the cat. The cat did a better job staying awake than I. Nothing puts me out like monotone reading where the reader usually doesn't pause for punctuation but rather for running out of breath or not being able to recognize a word. Still, I'm so proud of her. We had a great day together.

Sunday, January 20, 2013



Normally when I get mail, it's pretty uneventful (for me at least) or downright depressing (bills!).

Zoe gets invitations to all her friends' birthday parties. M gets thank you notes from his alma mater saying how great he is for donating and volunteering. I get white and orange pages from AT&T saying, "pay up, sucker."

Because of this, and a general lack of time and energy most evenings, the mail can sometimes pile up for a few days before I sit down and open/sort it.

This week, though, a little envelope arrived with my name handwritten. It wasn't from my friend Chris who manages to brighten my mailbox several times a year with good old-fashioned postal fun. The handwriting was different. I was intrigued.

And then the cat barfed and Zoe asked a question and my phone rang and a dozen other things happened at once. It wasn't until later that I picked up the envelope and opened it.

What I pulled out sent me over the moon.

Last year, while at my shutter sisters photography get-away, I had a chance to roam and shoot with two wonderful women from different parts of Canada. We "went rogue" one day and skipped the planned nature trip in favor of gourmet cupcakes and great architecture and shopping for vintage baubles. We had a blast, and it became evident as our sisters returned from their sojourn that we had chosen wisely. The day of shooting aside, I got to know one of the women a lot better (the other I had bonded with the year before and she was my roommate on this trip). She shoots a variety or formats, including Polaroid. I love the look of Polaroid and got the chance to play with it while out there. It's a tricky medium...the light seemed elusive at times and overbearing at others and I struggled. My new friend, though, is a master. I loved watching her work, and I loved seeing the end result.

She had been bouncing around the whole trip making portraits of all the phenomenal ladies sharing our experience, and then one night I was grabbed, dragged over to a specific chair with a specific backdrop in specific light, and her Polaroid was aimed right at me. I was wearing a new-to-me vintage dress with bright colors that I had just found that day.

Normally I hate having my photograph taken. HATE IT. But I was so honored that she wanted to photograph me along with all these wonderful women that I couldn't refuse. She made my portrait and for once I didn't hate an image of myself. Then off she went and off I went and I forgot about the picture.

Until this week. She sent me my portrait, and a lovely handwritten note that brought all the spirit of our time together flooding back. It was just what I needed.

I continue to be grateful for the incredible experiences I have and amazing people I meet. I have no idea how I got this lucky, but here I am.

Saturday, January 19, 2013



We went to Pere Marquette today, to look for eagles (we spotted eleven!) and eat yummy lodge food. Beautiful day, and I got lots of fun iPhone images, including this shot of a house covered in glazed ceramic tiles on a backroad in Grafton. Totally stumbled on it by happy accident. I love that.

We also learned the very expensive and brilliantly conceived LifeProof case is completely unsuited to shooting in daylight. I've been struggling with it since I got it, but today was the final straw. M saw my exasperation and packed it back up for me tonight. It'll be returned to the store tomorrow.

Tonight, after Zoe's bath as I was drying her off, we had this conversation:

"Mommy, is that the plumber behind the potty?"
"No, sweetie. That's the plunger."
"Ugh. I was SO close!"

These are the things that make my life so very, very rich.

Friday, January 18, 2013

field trip


Took the Girl Scouts on a field trip today.

Needed a drink and a nap after.

Thursday, January 17, 2013



She likes to wrap her wet hair up in a towel after her shower, "like Momo." She kills me.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013



Really, what could be better than this?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013



I was dreading tonight's New House task: choosing paint colors.

Then I sat down and did what we've done through this whole process: listened to my gut. Twenty minutes later...done. Whole house.

M returned home and we reviewed. He tweaked one color, and it was a great move. We are a good team with this house. In fact, I dare say we are kickass.

Well, let's wait until the house is done and looks good before bestowing that official designation.

In bed at 10. I'm in heaven tonight. And with that...I'm off!

Monday, January 14, 2013



Beautiful light in the carpool line this morning.

Mental note: never build a house again.

I'm tired. Tired of discussing. Tired of debating. Tired of reviewing and sorting and trying to reconcile quotes to invoices to pay apps. Tired of working all day, then half the night, THEN starting on stuff for the house. Tired of being tired.

Sunday, January 13, 2013



I held her while she slept today. I know this won't last forever, so I soak it up while I can.

(Yes, that's Hootie's wing under her chin. Some things never change!)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

date night


Zoe and M went to dinner and their first Girl Scout Daddy/Daughter Dance tonight. As her troop leader, I worked the event and got to watch them dance between fulfilling my duties of making more pink lemonade and refilling the cheese balls and Oreos.

It was awesome to see how much fun they both had, and my cheeks hurt from smiling. They danced the night away, both fast and slow songs. She loved grooving to LMFAO and Carly Rae Jepsen and Katy Perry and Psy, and at the end of the night the DJ finally threw a bone to the fathers and played Journey. It was all very sweet, and once again I realized that some things are worth mopping up spilled lemonade and picking up crushed pretzels and M&Ms. I was so happy to be there, and happy that they had such a great time.

Friday, January 11, 2013



Today's journey is over. Which is the one thing for which I can be thankful right now.

Thursday, January 10, 2013



Zozo received her Saint Juan Diego patch after her all-school mass today. She earned it by making a book about with her classmates about the life of Juan Diego, and teaching a kindergartner about him. She was so excited, and I was excited for and proud of her.

After a busy day at work, I met a female colleague in the school's fitness center for the first time. She's been going for years but I just learned recently that she does. She's the only female who dares work out in a fitness center full of teenage boys. Until now.

The music is pretty tasteless and it was too warm for my taste (apparently teenage boys really like to sweat), but they left us alone for the most part and were kind and polite when they did interact.'s FREE! Seriously. Free lunch (that's delicious) and a free fitness center, plus all the spiritual perks and the mission to boot? I've died and gone to heaven, I think. It's not too often that someone can say they continue to find things to love about their job the longer they work there. I am blessed beyond belief.

Now that I've gotten past the "am I intruding" issue by going with Jeanette once, I have no issues returning on my own. I can't believe how happy this makes me. (It's even open on the weekends!) It feels so good to move again, and exercise. Weather and budget are no longer issues.

So, all in all a great day capped by two good events. I fall asleep a happy girl tonight.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013



Our 7th grade Girl Scout helpers ran out of ideas for their monthly song and dance, so my Daisy troop learned Gangnam Style dance moves this afternoon.

It's disconcerting to realize you've lost control of your troop a mere 15 minutes into the meeting. The only thing that's worse is hearing 19 seven-year-olds scream, "Heeeeeey sexy lady!" with absolutely no prompting from anyone.

Meeting was good, as usual, and my co-leader and I left completely exhausted, as usual. No gas left in the tank. Which is a shame since I had to come home and put in over three hours of work to make up for leaving early for the troop meeting. This must be what a mother's love is all about, because I don't regret it one bit. She's totally worth it.

Mental note: learn (or re-learn) some traditional Girl Scout songs so as to supplement my 7th grade helpers in case they can't think of anything but Gangnam Style. I can't blame them...damn song has been running through my own head since 3:15 this afternoon.

Heeeeey, sexy lady...

Tuesday, January 08, 2013



Monday, January 07, 2013



Sunday, January 06, 2013



Finally chose a case for my new iPhone today. Went for the Lifeproof, which supposedly makes my phone über-protected without adding a ton of bulk. Liking it so far...didn't even flinch when I splashed red wine vinegar on it while making tonight's salad dressing!

The instructions said to test the case by submerging it in water for an hour, sans phone. So we did. Dry as a bone on the inside after. Woot!

Can I get a Lifeproof case for:
a.) my kid?
b.) my Corvette?
c.) my 17-55 f/2.8?

Those would be awesome.

Saturday, January 05, 2013



We all feel this way from time to time, right?

Friday, January 04, 2013



Even though everyone has taken down their decorations and the radio isn't playing carols any longer and no one says "Merry Christmas," it's still actually Christmas. It's Christmas until Epiphany, which happens to be Sunday.

This is what I thought about in the stillness of church this morning before Zoe's all-school Christmas Mass. Amid the smell of pine and the glitter of white twinkle lights, I was sad that it appears most people have lost sight of the true meaning of Christmas. It's no longer a religious holiday. It's a retail holiday, with as much meaning as Groundhog Day only with garland and egg nog. It's about yanking down the tree as soon as possible and buying stuff for other people who will also buy you stuff and once that's done then we're off to the next holiday that warrants Hallmark cards or maybe a day off work.

There is so much more to it, and I feel sorry for all those people who miss the depth and the beauty.

It's still Christmas, and for that, I'm happy.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, January 03, 2013

2012 365+1

Tonight I finished laying out my poster. Here's all my photos of the day from 2012, in order, start to finish. I'm pleased with it; this is a nice way to see my whole year in a snapshot. I would like to eventually print these in a book, but that's pretty pricey and I can get this 20x30 poster printed at Sam's for eight bucks and change. And then hopefully in a few months I can hang it on the wall of my brand new digital darkroom.



It's gonna take him awhile. We have a LOT of windows.

This makes me happy.

Stain approved, tile selected this week, bracing and brackets for floating kitchen shelves installed, drywall installed and taping starting. Floor is ready to be laid, cabinets are ready and in standby, and appliances hanging out in my project room. Furnace goes in Monday, and soffits are imminent. Final fireplace inspection was today, and we're close to starting the basement floor stain.

Things are really moving!



Yowsa! Beautiful sky!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013



Here we go...