Thursday, October 31, 2013



Dorothy Gale has a mouthful of candy. Toto is passed out in a basket in the other room.

Rain and cold didn't keep us down tonight. Great friends, candy, costumes, a couple of bottles of Pinot, a few bottles of beer, umbrellas...what more did we need?

Oh, and Matt Carpenter was trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. So add "National League Champion" to that list.

The kids were thrilled, the men were happy (see Cardinal above) and the women laughed.

T'was a good night.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013





Today I learned all about the hedge apple. Or horse apple. Or Osage orange.

Whatever you choose to call it, it's funky and cool. I'm intrigued.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013



Sunday, October 27, 2013



Saturday, October 26, 2013



And so it starts.

He's been designing for over a year. He's been building for months.

Today he started the install.

Here we go.

Friday, October 25, 2013



Twenty-one years and one week ago we went on our first date.

Sixteen years ago today we pledged our lives to one another.

I have known this guy over half my life. He has made me a better person. He's heard my secrets (and not judged me for them). He knows my dreams and my fears. He has held my hand - and my heart - through joyous times and through pain both physical and emotional. We have had epic blow-out fights that are over and forgotten nearly as quickly as they start (that's what happens in an Italian-Irish household). He keeps me warm at night and makes me laugh unexpectedly. He works his ass off and travels too much and pisses me off by leaving his socks everywhere. He's the best roommate I ever had. He's an incredible father.

He's my best friend.

I love you, my Mocholate. Happy anniversary, husband.

Thursday, October 24, 2013



Went darker tonight. This is the before picture.

It was time for a change.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013



This is on my way to work. I see this every single day, and it always looks lovely. Today was particularly so because of the light.

Normally, I'm going 35 or 40, so there's no chance to photograph it.

Today, though, I was going 0 mph.

I was going 0 mph because I was in a huge line of cars that wasn't moving. At all. What normally takes me 30 seconds took me over 10 minutes.

I got a nice photograph, though, so I'm cool with it. Silver lining.

I cropped out the cars. You're welcome.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013



I edited photos Sunday night.
I edited photos Monday night.
I edited photos tonight.

I am one happy girl.

Monday, October 21, 2013



It was hard to find motivation today. I simply did not want to be at work.

Even though it's beautiful there.

Sunday, October 20, 2013



This morning we visited the old St. Ferdinand Shrine in Florissant. It was pretty darn amazing. It's where Saint Rose Phillipine Duchene spent much of her life praying and teaching. All three of us enjoyed it, and I got to exercise my Big Girl Camera. (Pix to come...I spent tonight editing the images from yesterday's soccer game. Why is it more fun to edit the photographs from games we win than the ones we lose?)

I feel like the shrine is this little jewel tucked away that no one - or hardly anyone - knows about. It's hidden, just like this wallpaper under a layer of paint. We had signed up for this "family pilgrimage" months ago and really didn't have a clue what to expect. We joined about 30 of our parish family members and headed up there for Mass and docent-led tours of the church, convent and school house.

It was a great morning. While there, I also learned about two amazing women who are also serving on the ACTS team with me. (Just got the call to serve this week and am thrilled!)

This afternoon I attended another Mass in another beautiful church. This one was to celebrate Father Timothy's 60th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. It was lovely, and Father Timothy was his usual charming self.

All in all a good, if exhausting, day.

Saturday, October 19, 2013



An open house.
A soccer game.
A musical.

Great day.

Friday, October 18, 2013



This is NOT my phone. No way. If I have a "1" by any of those, I need to check it. A "2" makes my pulse quicken. "3" and over could induce a full-blown panic attack.

This is the phone of M's colleague, whom we took to dinner tonight as he's in from Boston and had no other plans. (We forced him to watch a Cardinals ass-kicking, but other than that we were hospitable hosts.) He is inundated with phone calls and emails, so he has simply stopped trying to keep up.

I don't think I could ever do that. No way. Too much worry about what I'd be missing.

954 unread emails? Holy shit. My stomach is churning just thinking about it.

On a bright note: GO REDBIRDS!!!! WOOT!

Thursday, October 17, 2013



I hate it when the barista gets my name wrong. "Amy" is not a hard name, people, and it wasn't even particularly loud this morning.

So I was April today. At least for a little while.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013



Tuesday, October 15, 2013



The colors are here! Yippee!

Too wet to walk around with the big camera today. Tomorrow looks iffy because of a crazy schedule, but I need to get out before the leaves fall.

I love this time of year.

The Mothers' Club at the school at which I work likes my campus images from last fall so much that they have asked to put several on large canvases to sell at the annual auction fundraiser. I am honored and thrilled. I can't wait to see them!

Monday, October 14, 2013



Zoe had no school today and since I worked half of Saturday, we spent the day together. She went into the office with me until about 12:30, when we left to get lunch and start what turned out to be an epic journey to find a Dorothy Gale costume that wasn't insanely expensive, horribly cheap, or trashy. Turns out, that's pretty hard to do.

I wasn't trusting Internet searches, as the costume companies always show something that looks far nicer than what you just shelled forty bucks out for, plus the various costumes weren't getting good consumer reviews.

Two Targets, two Wal-Marts, two Walgreens, the second Spirit store (first was hit Sunday) and finally Johnny Brock's Dungeon down on Jefferson. By the time we got home we were both exhausted. She will be Dorothy for Halloween, and she will be adorable and age-appropriate.

I have to say that overall I'm appalled at the current selection of Halloween costumes for boys and girls, and men and women. There seems to be a general lack of...I don't know...class? Respect? (For either one's self or the opposite sex.) Costumes are designed to depict women as prostitutes, men as perverts, and everyone as assholes. If you're not tarting yourself up you're making fun of others (whether they be old, or fat, or Asian, or anything less than society's current definition of perfect).

And I think that's ultimately what wore me out today. Seeing a whole industry make a shitload of money off of people degrading themselves and others. You can dress up as a slutty ______ (fill in the blank; it's nearly all available), a penis, or even as a butthead. Yes. There are actual butthead costumes.

What happened to creativity?

When I was a kid my neighbors threw an adult Halloween party where guests were required to dress up. I was allowed to make a pass through at the beginning just to see the costumes. One couple impressed the hell out of me. They were dressed in perfect 1920s attire. The hair and makeup on her was flawless. His fedora was tilted at just the right jaunty angle. Then, the best part: they were riddled with bullet holes. Tastefully done, of course. I will never forget seeing Bonnie and Clyde at my neighbor's house. They were outstanding.

But why go through all that trouble - finding vintage clothing and getting your hair done after carefully studying the style of a generation gone - when you can climb into a big penis or hitch up some fishnet stockings under a tiny Alice in Wonderland frock or put on a fat suit?

I'd like to think that I'm not losing my sense of humor. I don't think I am. I'd like to think that maybe my standards are just a bit higher. That I subscribe to the Broken Windows Theory that says if you fix the small stuff, the big stuff will follow. (Look it up. It's a pretty cool study done in a NY ghetto where they fought crime by fixing the broken windows and painting over the graffiti. Sure enough, once they did that, the crime rate dropped. People took pride in where they lived and worked. It's pretty cool.) I guess I think that if we start treating ourselves and one another with respect - even through something as seemingly insignificant as choosing a Halloween costume - that maybe our world will become a better place.

Hey, a girl can dream, right? Maybe I should click my heels together three times and make a wish...

Sunday, October 13, 2013



We did nothing today.

Wait, I should clarify that.

We did a lot today, but we didn't do much for anyone else. M put in some time on work, but mostly he got to work on Christmas. I cleaned up my darkroom, which was desperately needed. We went to Mass, where a visiting priest called all students, young and old, up for a special blessing at the end. We ran a couple of errands. Made Famous-Barr's French onion soup. Cleaned up the kitchen. Helped Zozo roller skate. Listed to her piano practice and helped her with a craft.

It was such a great day, mainly because we didn't have one single thing on our calendars. It was much needed and we took full advantage of it.

Saturday, October 12, 2013



Eye candy, that is.



Thursday, October 10, 2013

holy mower


Saw this mower on the way to mid-prayer today. I wondered at first why it was left, but then realized it was right next to the church and mid-day prayer was moments away. It would be highly distracting if a noisy mower was making passes right outside.

There is inherent respect at this place. I love that.

Spent yet another night working. This sucks. Even though I love my job there are only so many hours in the day I want to dedicate to it. And right now I'm well over that limit.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013



Ever faithful.

Am starting to get seriously amped up about getting a new camera body. I have not sold M on it yet. If any of you talk to him or email, kindly encourage him to lessen the grip he has on the 'ol budget and remind him of the importance of keeping the wifeperson happy.

D800. D800. D800.

It's becoming an obsession. This cannot end well (in M's eyes, that is!).

Tuesday, October 08, 2013



We made bracelets tonight. Red and white for Zozo, red and blue for Daddy. Go Cards!



Sunday, October 06, 2013

sports shooter


Froze my butt off shooting Zoe's soccer game today. Another win! The girls are playing so well and I'm having a blast photographing their games and editing the images.

I am trying to convince M that I need a new camera body to get better photographs. He lovingly reminds me that I've been known to say, "It's not the camera, it's the photographer." Especially in response to people who say, "I like your pictures. You must have a good camera."

Still. My trusty D300 isn't exactly a sports shooter body, and it's limited in ISO. Greatly. I hire a great pro photog at work to shoot the important liturgical events (ordinations, solemn vows, etc.) and wondered what the hell kind of lens he's been using to catch gorgeous shots in a challenging light environment. We were talking the other day about an insanely expensive lens he accidentally left behind on the last shoot (I was explaining to him that if he's going to leave gear behind he should at least shoot Nikon, as I have no use for Canon lenses) and I asked him what glass he's using to get those brilliant images. His eyes twinkled and he said, "It's not the lens." I know my eyebrows shot up when I asked, "You's THE BODY?!?!" We then had an intense discussion about ISO capabilities and how far they've come in the last few years. I'll say. If I go up to 800 I'm sweating bullets and dreading all the damn noise that will invariably fuzz up my photographs. He's regularly shooting at over twice that and pulling clean, crisp images.

I started drooling.

So I thought I wanted the D600. Surely that's enough for me. It's already obscenely expensive but it's not the most expensive so I figured I was doing good. Then I read a review of the camera, which said that if you shoot sports at all you shouldn't get the 600, you should get the 800.

I'm wishing - or rather, M is wishing - I hadn't read that review. Chances are I'd have never known there is a huge difference. But now that I know, I'd shoot every game with a 600 wondering what shots I'm missing that I could have gotten with the 800.

Oh, the dilemma!

(I love nights where my biggest worry is imagining what kind of camera I'm going to buy next. New guy starts tomorrow, so I'm allowing myself a little breathing room already. Whew!)



Took eight of the Brownies to the Girl Scout Troop Round-Up today.

I had been dreading it, actually. Long day, rambunctious girls...coming off an insane week of late nights and little fun. When it rained this morning I half hoped it would be canceled.

It wasn't. We went. And I had fun. The girls had a blast and it was really great to see Girl Scouts of every age there. Too many activities and cool things to see to list here. It was yet another long day, but much better than the five days preceding.

Tomorrow I have Liturgy of the Word for Children at 11 am Mass. I am worried about how I'm going to talk about a Gospel reading that would be difficult to explain to another adult, much less children, but I decided that I'd just put it in God's hands and let him guide it. Things seem to always work out better when I do that, so you'd think I'd have learned to do that all the time, but nope. I keep struggling on in my imperfect humanness.

large format


IPHF opened Friday.

Thursday, October 03, 2013



So much to be thankful for, like this salted caramel cupcake. And still so tired.



Zozer had two stubborn baby teeth extracted today. She was such a trooper and I am so proud of her. She was scared, but brave. When she was done, the nurse told me Zoe saw another little girl, a first grader waiting for her procedure, and said, "It's okay. There's nothing to be afraid of. You'll be fine!" Such a sweet girl. Her main concern? "Can I still go to soccer practice tonight?!" She could, and she did. And then she got a milkshake for dinner. Which was followed by soup, because as much as she relishes the idea of having a milkshake for dinner, the girl recognizes the value of eating real food.

Worked all night again, into this morning. As I was brushing my teeth I realized we hadn't taken care of the Tooth Fairy. Son of a b*tch. M is sacked out, having worked every night too, so it's up to me. I scrounged the last four bucks from my wallet and dug into M's handy international change mug. I have no clue what she's has a 10 and the other a 20, and the latter has what looks like Chinese characters. And as I crept into her room, desperately praying that I wouldn't wake her up, I cursed whoever thought it was a great idea to hide the Tooth Fairy's stash under the f*cking pillow.

Really? You couldn't just leave it on the nightstand and call it a day, sparing the feelings of parents for millennia to come? Was probably some medieval b*tch heading a Pinterest round table while the knights were in the man cave.

Off to bed. Another crazy day tomorrow full of meetings and deadlines, and an evening meeting that promises to not end before 9:30. Unless I simply pass out from sheer exhaustion. That might end the meeting a little early, seeing as how I'm running it and all.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013



Tuesday, October 01, 2013