Sunday, June 30, 2013



Zoe had a friend over for a play date today. It's so nice to be able to have her friends over again, and they have all the room in the world to dance and play, plus they have access to all her toys and games.

When my friend came to pick up her daughter, she brought me these beautiful sunflowers. My first thought, after realizing what a great friend I have, was, "Yes! Something to shoot!"

This, combined with the fact that I had a bit of darkroom time today (along with a chance to make more progress getting it put together) means that I'm feeling very much back in my photography groove. Otherwise known as My Happy Place.

I might even start shooting with my big girl camera again.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

eye candy


In no mood to write this evening, so I'll just leave you with some pretty colors and interesting shapes.

Friday, June 28, 2013



Thursday, June 27, 2013



Zozer and I visited Ellen Jane today. Holy cuteness.

Zoe held her and did so well, and I think she was pretty proud to be such a cool big cousin.

And all I could do was wonder how almost eight years have gone by since my little girl was this small.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013



Beautiful skies awash in pink tonight, just in time to welcome the arrival of my newest niece, Ellen Jane. How fitting!

Day full of work productivity and a night easing back into my online world of photography. I've been gone so long that it feels somewhat foreign. Favorite sites have changed formats, and old friends have produced amazing work documenting great personal change. It's good to be back, but it'll take some time to feel entirely at home again.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013



I got my girl back from camp today. She had an awesome time.

Her softball team kicked butt in their last game tonight, clinching the season championship 25-17. Zoe had hits in all four of her at bats. I set the lineup today, and I placed her in the number one spot since she's a consistent hitter. The team was missing their "magic bat" as it was mistakenly left in an absent father's car. I grabbed a pink bat from Coach's bag and handed it to her. "Zo, this is your new magic bat. Go out there and get it started, sister." She hit a double, and when her teammate drove her home she crossed home plate and ran to me, beaming. "I did it, Mama! I did exactly what you told me to!"

We had the whole team - 13 girls, their parents and siblings - over for a celebratory pizza dinner afterwards.

So, yeah, it was a pretty awesome day.



I'm getting to where I hate the sight of orange plastic safety fencing. Most notably when it's in my yard.

Digging up our beautiful sod to find and repair the water leak that has been there for months. Their idea of "It was always there, it was just diverted - so we'll sod over it and it'll divert again and be just fine" was a bunch of horse manure. So here they are, undoing good work to fix something. Again.

I look forward to the day when I can remove our GC from my phone's contact list. Permanently.

Picking up my kid from camp tomorrow. Can't wait. Longest damn two days of my life. I'm going to be a nutcase when she grows up and leaves home. So I don't think I will let her. Ever.


Monday, June 24, 2013



Ever since I signed Zozer up for Girl Scout camp with her fellow Brownie months ago, I've been excited for her to go. Our She & Me camp last weekend was the perfect intro, and having her attend her first "solo" overnighter with a friend was reassuring. We packed this morning and talked about all the fun she'll have. Then we all loaded up in our friends' minivan for the hour-plus drive to the camp. (Our friends decorated their van with drawings and fun slogans on the windows for today's special delivery. The photo today is a close-up of their art.)

Once there we got the girls signed in and through their health screening. Then, as we were walking them to their swim test, we came to The Goodbye Tree.

Which is a giant oak tree with counselors there who ensure that the campers continue on after saying goodbye to their families.

Which is when I started to feel sick to my stomach.

I faked it. Put on a happy face and gave hugs and kisses and told her I'd see her Tuesday afternoon. Then stood there and felt like vomiting while she happily trooped away, swim suit and beach towel and flip flops in hand.

We delivered the rest of her gear to her unit, and I set up her sleeping bag and tucked Hootie in to await her return. We then stopped at the mail desk on the way out and wrote a few camp grams to be delivered tomorrow and Tuesday. (Mail at camp! Yay!)

Then we left and I managed to hold it together in front of our friends until they dropped us off at home.

I've pretty much been crying ever since.

This is ridiculous. I've spent nights away from her many times. She's spent nights away from home many times. Why is this different?

Because she isn't with family.
Because she's over an hour away.
Because she's in a place I don't know.
Because she's CAMPING, for crying out loud.

I tackled the storage room in the basement to try to distract myself. It has needed attention since we cleaned out the garage. I set up shelves and put things away all neat and orderly like.

Then I cried some more and popped some Tums.

M was a huge source of comfort, offering lots of hugs and reassurances that she's fine, and having a blast. I know he's's ME who is having the hard time! I'm glad he was here. I'd be inconsolable without him. He reminded me that it's a good thing that we have raised a daughter who is capable of exploring new places and is open to new experiences. He's right, of course. I'm super proud of her.

What's really, really cool in all this is that he's seeing how much she loves Girl Scouts and the GS camp experience. He heard all about our great time at She & Me, and watched her get excited about this trip. He saw the awesome facilities at the camp (which is a different one than last week), and tonight we registered Zoe and her father to attend the Girl Scouts Just The Two of Us Camp, which is for daddies and daughters.

We are a Girl Scout family. Which makes me happy. Not as happy as I'll be when I get my baby back Tuesday afternoon, but happy.

(This experience leads me to believe that I'll no longer be encouraging her to attend any university she likes, but will insist that she stay local and never, ever leave home. Mommy will need Prozac or Valium if she chooses otherwise.)

Saturday, June 22, 2013



Guests tonight. You know who you are! Loved having you over...thanks for the special night.

Friday, June 21, 2013



Seeing an Amtrak train always gives me wanderlust.

Thursday, June 20, 2013



Went back to the alma mater today for a symposium. So much development since I graduated in 1996 that I barely recognize the campus.

Jesse Hall still looks the same though, and I spied its beautiful top around the corner of the alumni center where we were.

I wish I would have had more time to check out my old haunts. Neff Hall, and Walter Williams. Shakespeare's. The Chinese lions.

I'm pretty sure my old, beloved apartment building was razed to make way for a multi-level parking garage. And probably my favorite Italian joint across the street and next to my laundromat.

One of my favorite profs died last year. The one for whom I TA'd and who gave me my first martini. He was Old School, from the days of Madison Avenue ad agencies and three martini lunches and a fondness for Hemingway. I adored him. Although I could never figure out the Hemingway fascination as I don't particularly care for his style. He walked with me during my honors convocation. My prof, not Hemingway.

I guess things change and I generally think change is good, except when I wax nostalgic and it's not.

Mizzou holds so much for me. It's where I really came into my own. I transferred in knowing no one. I was one of a million students on campus. I learned who I was, and what I was capable of (it takes tenacity to get The World's Finest School of Journalism to accept a floundering engineering transfer student), and what I wanted. I learned that it's fun to attend the foreign movie nights in the basement of the library, and that I had no issues going alone. I learned to ignore the homeless guys sleeping in my lobby on cold winter days, and the compassion to not call the landlord to come kick them out (they were harmless, although usually intoxicated).

And yes, I learned how to write, although looking back that was secondary to the life lessons Mizzou imparted.

Oh Mizzou! I shall always love you!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013



Welcome home.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013



I inherited 10 years of unorganized photographs when I started my job last year. They were in a huge pile behind my employee's desk. I told her to go through the boxes a little each day until they were done. I knew most of the photos would be discarded. If she spent a bit of time each week she'd get through it in no time.

She resigned last week to stay home with her new baby. The pile was untouched. Now a new team is moving into that space and the pile needs to go.

Guess who is doing it?


God bless the alumni mom who is coming in to help me this week. She rocks.

My former employee? Yeah. She doesn't.

Monday, June 17, 2013



Am addicted to sweet tea these days.

And cooking. M made an awesome chicken basil pesto pasta dish with big chunks of Babybel cheese for dinner while I whipped up a yummy salad. Then after we made chocolate chip cookies. I feel like I've never done so much cooking in my life, and what used to be burdensome, a dreaded task worse than vacuuming, is now a delight. Complicated recipes are no longer intimidating, and I find that I like the food I prepare as much or more than restaurant food. This pleases M to no end as he hates eating out (too much time spent on the road) and he loves the economics of eating at home. He also likes that we can make our favorite dishes a lot healthier without sacrificing a lot of taste. His bleu cheese burgers last night were made with ultra-lean ground turkey. Okay, I won't say that's as good as beef, but he got the general taste without any of the heart attack inducing bad stuff. (Well, except for the bleu cheese...but it was Father's Day!)

Tonight we (okay, M) put together our new kitchen counter stools.

I love this house. I love living here. I love cooking and cleaning and working here. Thank goodness it's summer and my job allows me to work from home quite a bit because I'm getting it out of my system. Some day I'll be happy to leave the house, but for right now I'm really content to hang out in the nest and just be.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

tie dye


Tie dye buckets. In the rain.

We didn't let the rain slow us down! Awesome camping trip with my girl. She loved it, which makes this old Girl Scout so happy.

Down by the banks
Of the Hanky-pank
Where the bullfrogs jump
From bank to bank
Saying fee fi fo fum
Me say me say
Ding dang DONG!

I got a coupla songs and games to bring back to the troop, and we laughed and laughed. Great weekend.

This afternoon, we got our M back. He's been gone a week, and it felt like the longest week ever. So glad to have him home.

Made him homemade bleu cheese burgers and baked fries tonight, along with fresh guac.

Happy Father's Day to the incredible dads in my life. Dad, Papa, my FIL, my hubster, my BIL Shawn, and my bro Matt, not to mention dad-to-be BIL Steve. Good men, all. Incredible examples of what it truly means to be a dad.

Saturday, June 15, 2013



Holy memories, batman. I remember just how much I loved it here.



We head to Girl Scout camp tomorrow morning, so I'll probably try to post my photo of the day early. I'd like to do what they recommend and ditch the phone in the car while we are there. Still, I'd also like to have it handy to capture some of our moments. We'll see.

First Girl Scout camp together. I'm not sure which one of us is more excited!

Saw the giant Amoco sign today, leaving Forest Park after shooting a golf scramble for work. I don't know why this sign makes me so happy, but it does. I think I just like the enormity of it.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

good game


Indeed. 16-4, and she had three RBIs.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013



Tuesday, June 11, 2013



The light in this house is incredible. I feel like every day I see something new.

This image was taken this morning, around 7, with all natural light. The window is actually on the left, but the bright sunlight came through the high transom and bounced beautifully off the wall to her right.

The arm thrown back, Hootie hanging out by her head, the curve of the pillow...I couldn't resist.

Feeling like I'm getting some of my photography mojo back.

It's about damn time.

I should probably work on getting my digital darkroom set up.

Monday, June 10, 2013



His tags expired in January. Not that either of us noticed, nor did the state of Missouri feel it necessary to send the renewal reminder. The first cop gave a warning, which we also forgot about. Two days later the second cop gave a citation, which is a little harder to forget. Tags expired in January but two cops in two different municipalities notice on the same weekend? That's just bad luck. Or rather, the complete drainage of the good luck that kept him from being pulled over before early June.

And of course the damn thing needed tires to pass inspection, then a new rear stabilizer bar.

So here we are. Many hours and several hundreds of dollars later and we are legal again. Still no AC and the drivers seat is ripped and there's the big ol' door dent and M says the synchros are going out in 2nd and 3rd and the last storm cracked the windshield...but the state of Missouri says we are free to go forth and drive.

In January 2015, someone please remind us that our plates are due.

(I would like to point out, before my little sister does, that this indeed is a trend in our family. My plates were once several months overdue, which we did not notice until she saw it and told us. So this is definitely a weakness for both of us. I hereby appoint my sister to be our official license plate monitor. See what happens when you open your mouth?! I would also like to point out that I never got pulled over with my expired plates and M did twice. Therefore my offense is somewhat less egregious. That's my story anyway.)

Sunday, June 09, 2013



Tackled the mudroom, its closet, and the office armoire today. All new house paperwork is sorted and neatly filed away. Office supplies are organized, along with gift wrapping materials and winter gloves, scarves and hats. A place for everything and everything in its place.

I love this house, and I love having a place to put everything away. I love unpacking all our belongings and feeling like we are finally home.

But I am really, really tired. I need a night (or a week) off.

Saturday, June 08, 2013



We cleaned out the garage today. All of it. And both cars are in. Well, technically all three cars are in but I don't count the third because it has always been garaged. Old house. Interim house. New house. Leaving it out was never an option. Ever. I'd have slept outside before the Corvette did. You think I'm joking. I'm not. (This is where the car-love gene I inherited from my father shows up.)

During the day while we worked, we had a couple car honks - as we always is SO great to be back! - and two different friends stopped by. They saw us working outside and stopped to say hello. How awesome is that? This, my friends, is why I love our community so much. Even though we are in a St. Louis suburb it feels like we live in Mayberry. Both of those drop-in visits resulted in invitations to hang out later tonight.

I love being home.


Friday, June 07, 2013



Thursday, June 06, 2013



Her favorite thing to do these days is play pool. We haven't let her use a stick yet, but she's picking up the basics pretty quickly by rolling the cue ball into her target balls by hand.

She prefers to be solids.

She had to be told that its impolite to chatter/sing/hum excessively when your opponent is lining up a shot.

She thinks someone should invent pool for kitties, after watching Max follow us around the table for an hour, meowing for attention.

We might need to get her a stick. Do they make short ones for children?

Wednesday, June 05, 2013



CYC Night at the ballpark, so Zozer got to walk around the field in her uniform with her softball teammates. It rained, but the rain didn't dampen their spirits at all. After, we ate our dinner in an enclosed stairwell and waited for the rain to turn into a steady mist. At that point they pulled the tarp off the field and introduced the players. We got two innings in before deciding to get the girls home and in bed for the night. Zozer's crazy hair day resulted in color hairspray, so a shower was imperative. 10:30 bedtime? I just hope it doesn't kill us in the morning.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013



Today was Princess Day at VBS. She's been having a blast. I keep trying to convince her that she should work and I should go to camp and have fun, but she's not going for it.

The worker guys came today and banged out a bunch of tasks. The punch list grows shorter. They'll be back Thursday. It's all coming together and I'm feeling more rested, more at peace.

So this is what Normal feels like.

Wow. It's kind of nice.

Monday, June 03, 2013



Stirfry on the new gas cooktop tonight. So much fun to cook in this kitchen. I chopped veggies at the island and faced my family, instead of being holed up in the kitchen by myself. Plenty of room to work and stage veggies. Easy to clean up as I went. Heaven.

This house is even more awesome than I imagined. I find myself thinking, "Wow. I want to live HERE." And then being happily surprised to remember that I do.

We closed today. This is a very good thing. Despite our builder's best efforts to drag this out as long as possible, we managed to close AND hold some of his money back as incentive to finish. We had locked on a great rate back on March 1, and he guaranteed he could finish by March 30. Five extensions later and we were down to the wire. Our loan officer told us today that a mandate went out Friday stating no more extensions since the rates are climbing again. Today was the last day of the last extension. We closed with a little over four hours to spare.

No wonder I had heartburn all day.

Looking forward to having that worry behind me. Now we just need to get this house finished. They're coming tomorrow. Carpenters. Electrician. Plumber. God knows who else. Wish me luck.

Sunday, June 02, 2013



We bought tires today.

And it's Budget Night.

Which means I'm tired (in more ways than one) and extremely cranky.

Saturday, June 01, 2013



We played today. We did some work around the house, too, but we played. We played with our Colorfall blocks, and we played hide-and-seek, and we had tickle fights.

It was what you'd call a normal day.

And it was good.