June 30, 2011

it doesn't take much...

to make me smile

just give me my adorable niece

a room made of mirrors

i'm a happy camper
{there are a few new photos up over here and here if you have some extra time}

June 29, 2011

because it's proven that adults don't laugh enough....

maybe you won't laugh as much as i did
maybe you don't even like improv
i did laugh
i do like improv 
i thought it only fair 
that i share my giggles with you today

{use the arrow box-lower right-to enlarge the video}

June 28, 2011

my apologies...

you guys have been so great and i've been terrible
for the past week, my sister has been here visiting and instead of returning emails, responding to comments and reading your blogs, i've been playing and eating. i am so behind, it isn't even funny and i'm hoping that you'll all forgive me. 
i know there are many bloggers who take a break for a week or even a month, especially as summer rolls in, but i wasn't going to do that. at least not yet. 
now don't get wrong. 
i enjoyed life and family laughs and eating {lots} the entire time my sister was visiting, but now, i'm swimming in emails and "to-do" lists and can't seem to find my floaties anywhere. 
so with my head a bit under water, randomness surfaces.
1. the mushrooms in my last post are from the farmer's market and no i didn't buy them. yes you can eat them. i just thought they were really cool.
2. the "big c" started it's new season last night and like last year, i will be hooked.
3. the bachelorette continues to suck me in. maybe it's because secretly i want to find out where bentley lives so i can go and kick him in the shins and mess up his hair while i tell him to get rid of that smile that reeks of "i'm the biggest jerk that has ever lived"
4. ann curry is not doing it for me as matt's co-host. i miss meredith.
5. our summer is finally here. like really here. finally we have warmth.
6. i love small airports and want to thank all of you for your opinions on the photo of the lady reading her newspaper form friday's post.
7. i'm still hating the fact that nobody in madison says "excuse me"while rudely passing in front of me at any shopping establishment i go to.
8. i am loving the song "if i die young" by "the band perry"
9. it's been confirmed by every pair of sandals i have tried on this summer that i hate my toes.
10. out of the hundreds of photos i have taken this month, the one above might be my favorite.
so here's to catching up 
on everything and everyone
{and maybe a little bit tomorrow....and maybe wednesday too}
you guys are the best

June 26, 2011

can you believe those are edible mushrooms.....

{do you see his nose and his ear. ouch. that must have been some fight}

June 24, 2011

photography tip friday.....

move yourself
the photo above is right out of the camera {sooc} and was taken after i shot the one below and realized the side of the chair next to me was right smack dab in the middle of my photo.

if this had been the only photo i had taken, i would have cropped the chair out of the photo and been left with just a lady and her newspaper without any depth what so ever.
with every tip, just like art, it's all in the eye of the beholder. 
there will be some of you who like the chair in the photo and the fact that you can see the art hung on the back wall and that's perfectly okay and i can't say that that's wrong. 
for me though, in the bottom photo, my eye goes right to the chair and that's not what i had intended to be my focal point. 
don't you love the fact that with photography we can do what we like to do and love what we love and if there are rules to follow, the sky won't come crashing down on us when we don't.
so tell me, just for kicks, what photo do you like best.

June 22, 2011

how to make your mom cry.....

first, let your dad come up with the idea to fly your older sister home for your mom's 70th birthday. 
as a SURPRISE. then join forces with your sisters to figure out how and when.

next, spend 3 weeks being very sneaky and lying 
while your dad makes secret phone calls from the garage. 
from his cell phone. which he never uses.

then pick up the surprise from the airport and drive to younger sister's house and pick her up, too. then travel south 30 minutes and walk casually into your parent's home while your mom is making dinner. also, bring your daughter and your niece along just to fill the stairwell, so that for a few seconds, when your mom turns around, she doesn't see that there's an extra face in the crowd. 
when she sees that face
that lives a long way away
let the crying and happy tears begin

here's my dad
~hugging my older sister ~
while still looking stunned that he pulled off this amazing surprise
which i'm now calling a mission
from now on
i'm referring to him as 007

June 21, 2011

i struggle as a student....

i've been taking the mondo beyondo class for the past 4 weeks and to be honest with you, i'm not a very good student. sometimes i don't "get" our assignments and sometimes i don't even do them. 

i do read the assignments everyday, but often, that's as far as i get. 
two weeks ago, we were asked to leave behind some of our motivating notes 
~that had been given to us~
for others to find. i finally got around to it this past weekend.

of course the logical place for me to leave notes or anything for that matter 
is always at "my pond"

so you might be asking "what is mondo beyondo"
well, it's about acting, believing, dreaming, doing, seeing, finding, going, moving, getting, having, letting, protecting, and a whole lot of other "ing" words.

have i learned something. YES. i have. 
i don't regret taking the class at all. it's my second online class in the past two years. 
due to my love of people and that i actually like to be around others, especially when the instructor asks us to move our desks into a circle so we can all see each other, this just might be my last online class. i've gotten tired of being the only student in "the classroom" that takes place in my office every morning.

~if you have time, i have beautiful baby photos over here for you to see~

June 19, 2011

happy father's day.....

happy father's day 
i am blessed everyday to have you as my father
the fact that you're only an hour away
"johnny on the spot" 
whenever i need something
that makes me very spoiled and downright lucky
i love you

June 18, 2011

where we go from here....

the past few days have been difficult for so many of us. char's passing hit us all in the gut, not to mention the softest parts of our hearts. 
but she wouldn't want us all mourning her for days. no. absolutely not. instead she'd want us to be out living our lives. smelling the flowers. soaking up the sun. holding hands while we walk.
so let's do that. just for her.
will you join me.
will you put on some music and dance or whip up a batch of cookies, while the windows in your kitchen let a flowery scented breeze blow your hair around.
i know she'd love it if you did. 
yesterday i had a newborn shoot. in my hands i held a brand new life. a beautiful baby girl.
with every shot i took. with every baby gurgle i heard.
i couldn't help thinking about the circle of life
that this is where we go from here.

June 17, 2011

because of char....

i want to share with you the note that char's sister sent me. there are still so many people wondering what happened and i think jean-marie would want all of you to see this. 
it was all so sudden...She has had some historical problems with blood pressure and her heart, but simply went into the ER with an infection. While there, her heart stopped several times, but they were unable to bring her back after the third time. After a week, I am able to see God's mercy in this...She worked with our states Medicade Agency and had also worked with nursing homes, so her worst nightmare would have been to suffer at length with someone having to take care of her. I have peace knowing she is at peace...Blessing to you and yours.
use your wings
sweet friend

June 16, 2011

she will be missed.....

i am honestly without words at the moment
will try my best
i found out today that a dear blogging friend has died and i'm still in disbelief. 
char made all of us laugh and shared her life with us
the same way we all share our lives with each other. 
right here. in this blogging world. in this safety net of friends.
if you knew char, then you know her photos were from the heart and that she loved being an aunt more than anything else in this world.
if you knew char, then you know that saying "that girl could cook" would be an understatement. she loved being in the kitchen and making others happy with the meals she served them.
if you knew char, then you know she wouldn't want any of us to be crying today. instead she'd want us all to be eating cookies and dancing to her favorite music.
if you didn't know char, you truly missed out knowing an amazing woman.
all i know to be true 
is that the blogging world has lost a friend 
the world has gained an exceptional angel 
with wings so bright
that you'll know when she's near

June 15, 2011

i really want to talk to you.....

i really do. i like people. actually i love people. i like being in touch. 
i like being able to find you. quickly.
back in january 
i posted the information about making sure that you are EMAIL AVAILABLE after you've left a comment on a blog post. mine or anyone elses. 
often, a question is asked to me and if i click on your name to reply to you, and it comes up with a "no-reply" behind your name, then it's hard for me to get back in touch with you. quickly.
if the only way to answer you, is to go to your blog and type in the answer you asked me in your most recent blog post's comment section, then it confuses everyone else, as they are like "why is she talking about chickens when the post is about peanut butter sandwiches"
so as another public service announcement {yesterday it was about boobs}
i'm here to help. 
in case you were wondering
{which you probably weren't but i thought i'd share anyway}
some of my best blogging friends are those whose email is available. we've gotten to the point of sitting at night, emailing each other back and forth, discussing kids and husbands, ideas and dreams.
you know who you are and i adore you all.
here we go 
{i found this version of adding your email, including the photo, over here}

here are the easy steps 
once you do this you will fix the “no-reply@blogger.com” and others can email you if they choose when they receive your comments
  1. Edit your profile and enter your email address under the Identity section, then click on the box next to "show my email address" under the Privacy section. This will provide a link on the profile page that says "Email" and a person could click on that to email them directly.  This also provides a legit email address a blogger can reply to when responding to a comment left on their blog!
  2. Make sure your profile looks like this to enable others to email you back once your comment has been emailed to them. 

thank you SO very much for doing this. really. thank you. 
i think you'll be surprised by how many people you'll really get to talk to now.

June 14, 2011


i probably got your attention with that word, didn't i.
well, speaking of boobs, mine were squashed like a bug this morning. so, just like a public service announcement, have you had your yearly mammogram. i hope you have or at least have it scheduled.
i'd hate to think i'm the only one having all this fun.

this past weekend was a big movie weekend for us and i'm not really sure why. it's not like it was the dead of winter, where we were snowed in and tired of playing tiddlywinks. it was actually nice outside. if your definition of nice includes mosquitos, everyday after dusk.
first we watched "just go with it" {adam sandler/jennifer aniston} which was just okay. it had some funny parts. i will brag a bit here where i mention that brooklyn decker is in it and she's married to my cousin, andy roddick, so for us, that made it worth watching.
then we went to the theatre and watched "bridesmaids" which was funny, but only in a way women can understand. the hubby hated it and i don't blame him. it really is a chic flick and just today i read on a blog, from a chic, that she also hated it. so obviously it's not for everyone. if you see it, or if you have seen it, the funniest part for me, was knowing that melissa mcCarthy {from mike and molly} who plays dougie's sister, is in real life, married to the guy who plays the air marshall on the plane. i'm not sure if any of their scenes would have made me laugh as much as i did, if i hadn't known that.

late sunday morning while doing a little laundry, i watched "reservation road" which was good and awful and sad and oh, i don't know. i hated the ending so much. it leaves you hanging.
last but not least, saturday night we watched "love and other drugs" {anne hatheway/jake gyllenhal} which WE LOVED and was better than all the other movies put together. now granted, i loved "autumn in new york" {cherlize theron/richard gere} and there are a few similarities, but who cares. it was really good. and i laughed and i cried. and a movie that makes me cry, is a good movie in my book.

 the photo above and below, well
i tried something new that is kind of hard unless you have a great scene photo
{with hopefully people in it}
my newest blogging friend, who happens to live right here in madison, turned me onto it after she posted this photo on her blog. believe me, i will keep practicing this and taking more scene photos until i get at least get ONE great one. seriously, try it. you'll be addicted.

June 13, 2011

is it a crackle or grackle.....

does anyone know
i could have certainly looked this information up myself, since i'm a google lover, but so many of you are into nature and birds that i'd love to hear what you have to say. and to be honest with you, it's only a guess that that's what this baby even is. the fields yesterday by the pond were filled with grackle/cackle birds, basically dive bombing me, so that's why i'm assuming this is one of their babies. 
for all i know it could be a crow. 
but isn't it cute. just look at those baby feathers on his chest.

after i kept saying "look at you sweet baby, aren't you just the sweetest, cutest little thing ever" 
it got a bit smart with me and said "stop the baby talk already crazy camera lady.
 i'm a big kid now. just look at what i can do with my wing. wha-la"

June 10, 2011

where i talk about photography a little bit....

first though. another madison farmer's market. 
this market is the big one and is held every saturday downtown on the square.
in this first collage, well i have nothing to say about the bonnet the man who sells honey is wearing or the size of the earlobes on the young man in the bottom right hand corner, because i live here and the thought of having people stalking me and wanting to destroy my camera because i laughed at their bee bonnet and gagged at the sight of their earlobes. nope. i'm not saying anything.

you know you're in wisconsin when there are "cows ahead" signs posted on the street corners and women wear cow hats with horns on their heads. 

i was slightly entertained by the magician. slightly. 
and was hugely disappointed that i didn't know ahead of time about the classic car show on state street or i would have had my car loving dad come up and go with us, as this is the kind of thing he loves.

now a little talk about photography. 
here's the original "girl in the tree" photo. see all the yuck at the bottom. wouldn't it have been great if i could have just NOT gotten that yuck in the first place. well i didn't, which means only one thing. crop. now i don't want to go into a long discussion about the rule of thirds, because i think it's probably the one rule that gets broken the most, unless your last name is weiner and you send photos of yourself on twitter that end up on the news. WHAT, sorry, i was totally distracted there for a moment. anyhow, if you don't know about the rule of thirds, please google it.

here's photo number one. cropped. colors played with. and now MUCH more interesting then the original photo because of the rule of thirds. like i said, google it.

same cropped photo. now black and white. actually a bit too dark now that i'm looking at. dang, i hate it when that happens. now if i had shot it in monochrome straight from my camera, it would have been perfect. like i've said before, i love that function on my camera.

and one more photo, 
where i played a bit more with color to bring out the highlights in her hair. 
so what did i teach you, besides the fact that i think weiner has some issues.....well hopefully i taught you a bit about getting rid of yuck {cropping} which almost always leads to a better photo that falls into the rule of thirds category and that if you wear a bee bonnet on your head, i will make fun of you.
happy weekend everyone. i know it's enough that you keep up with this blog, but i have added some sweet photos over here and here, if you want to see what else i've been up to.

June 9, 2011

finding hope and hopefully making sense while doing it...

lately, my mind has been running around in what feels like a labyrinth. it's somewhat tired, but more than anything it's frustrated and lacking hope. it smiles often and wants to believe that nothing is wrong, yet an unsettling feeling has lodged itself in my mind's heart. 
sometimes i wonder if it's the gypsy in me that i locked away after our last move, finally busting holes in the walls that surround her, determined to come out and play again.
sometimes i wonder if it's because of the soft and comfortable stay-at home-mom sweater that i wore forever {which now feels scratchy and stretched out since our nest is empty} 
can't seem to find it's way to the good-will pile permanently, no matter how many times i put it there. 
at night, i try really hard to listen to my dreams.
the big dreams are loud enough to make me feel like i'm sleeping with a marching band, made up of only bass drums and cymbals, which leave me drained and headachy. but the little dreams, that i can hardly remember in the morning, even though they give voices to the creaks in the hardwood floors as they run around for hours just after the band finishes playing, are the ones i want to capture and hold onto and listen to for hours. even if they do only speak in whispers during the day, they sound so hopeful.
so today, since i have the ability to control my HOPE for everything good and different in my life, 
which unfortunately, sometimes is nothing more than a barely audible drip, 
i'm turning it on full blast, like a fire hydrant being drained.
"at its most basic level, the labyrinth is a metaphor for the journey to the center of your deepest self and back out into the world with a broadened understanding of who you are"

June 7, 2011

only spinach for now....

it's not really a health kick i'm on, but i am trying some new things. i've been adding spinach to my fruit smoothies and loving the fact that i know the spinach is there, yet i can't see it or taste it. for those of you who drink the truly green smoothies, i'm impressed. 
i'm not there yet, but might be someday. for me, a smoothie has to taste good and look good, without chunks getting caught in my straw, or there's no way i'm drinking it.
here are some of the many ingredients i use in my smoothies. any mixture of the items below will work. the number one thing is to make sure you use frozen fruit instead of ice. a real smoothie to me, does not have ice in it. and did you know, you can freeze bananas.
yogurt {honey almond from target is my favorite}
 milk {just a tiny bit if you need more liquid}
juice {i like the v-8 100% juice blends}
any fresh fruit {i love the dole snack packs in their own juice when you're in a hurry} 
any frozen fruit {frozen blueberries cover up the vulgar color of pulverized spinach}
spinach {or any vegetable that you can pulverize}
blend away and enjoy
if you have littles at home or even if you don't
leftover smoothies can be frozen in little cups and made into popsicles 
do you add something special to your smoothies you think i might like
please share
the asparagus above will never be found in a smoothie of mine 
grilled and devoured 
but never in my smoothie

June 6, 2011


hey guys, it's just the crazy camera lady again. you don't need to run.

don't listen to charlie you idiots. he's just too lazy soaking up the sun to move.

okay, let's just ignore her and play duck, ducks, goose instead. sally you're so funny. ducks. i get it. but i think the goose will win. is he our dad. mom. do you have something to tell us.

yeah so what. so i have a few feathers stuck to my beak. i like it like that.
haaa haaaa. you have feathers stuck to your beak too. dork duck.

mom. hey mom. we're hot. can we have a popsicle. huh. can we. can we.

i guess charlie was right. the crazy camera lady seems harmless. plus i can see myself in her sunglasses and i have to say, i look marvelous.

mom said we had to get all that sticky popsicle juice off us. personally i think she just wanted us to entertain ourselves for awhile. oh well. beat you to the floating log, loser.