Grown Up Snow Day

 

Yesterday  I walked out my door to this:

 

 

I’m not usually too worried about driving in the snow, but yesterday we received about a foot of the fluffy cold stuff and so I decided to play it safe and take a PTO (personal time off) day from work.

Its the other people driving that scare me.

So, I realized that yesterday was an unofficial Grown Up Snow day and I felt like a kid again (except for when I needed my readers glasses to read tiny print).

G1 got out to clean off the cars, our driveway and 5 other neighbors driveways, he’s such a good neighbor.

I walked around taking a few pictures along the way.

 

 

This is our back patio where on warm days a few Margaritas are sometimes enjoyed.

Oh how I long for those days now.

 Then I walk around the corner to see that one of my neices or my silly nephew left a little hot handed artwork on my storm door from the suprise birthday party G1 threw for me a few weekends ago.

It pretty much sums up my mood for this grown up snow day.

Really? That’s What They’re Singing?

I’m sure most of us have done it before,

 we’re singing merrily along thinking we know darn good & well what the words to the song we are singing are.

Until,

 someone starts laughing at you.

Not because we can’t carry a tune (which could very well be the case with me)

but because we’ve managed to mutilate the lyrics.

I can think of 2 songs off the top of my head that I’ve done that with.

Don Henley – Boys of Summer

These are the real lyrics:

Nobody on the road,
nobody on the beach.
I feel it in the air,
the summers out of reach

Empty lake, empty streets,
the sun goes down alone.
I’m driving by your house
though I know that you not home…

And I can see you
you brown skin shining in the sun
you got your hair combed back
sunglasses on baby.

And where they say “Your brown skin shining in the sun”, I remember thinking it was “Your breasts keep shining in the sun” (Like bikinis people!) That’s what I thought until one day my friend and I were riding along in the car, singing at the top of our lungs, and she stopped, mid lyric, and started laughing hysterically at me.

Good times!

Then there is a song most of us know, Winter Wonderland.

This time of the year always brings back this memory.

One of the verses’ goes like this:

Later on, we’ll conspire,
As we dream by the fire
To face unafraid,
The plans that we’ve made,

Walking in a winter wonderland.

(I hear you singing!)

As a child, I remember our family riding home in the car singing along with the radio to this very song when my mom, stopped & started to laugh hysterically and my older brother muttered “What a dork” when they heard me singing;

“Later on we’ll perspire, as we dream by the fire”.

I don’t know about you, but I can see where MY lyrics make perfect sense.

In fact, I still sing MY lyrics sometimes.

Who among us hasn’t gotten a little too warmed up by the fire and had a little perspiration?

So now that I’ve shared some of my embarrassing lyric mishaps,

What songs & lyrics have you messed up in the past?

Mom’s Got Cooties!

Approximately 8 years ago, my husband was getting up at 4 am to get ready to go in to work and while he was getting ready, I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep.

It was a Friday,

 not just any Friday,

THE Friday,

Black Friday.

As I sat and drank 2 of my overly large cups of coffee, I felt a sudden burst of energy and started looking at the ads that sat taunting me on my table. I had never gone to a Black Friday event before, I thought those people who did had completely lost their marbles but I wondered if I were missing something, I secretly wanted to try it and there were some great prices on toys that would save me some money and hey, I was all ready up, bonus!

While I was still contemplating this, my eldest daughter got up to use the bathroom and I spotted her as she walked back towards her warm, comfy bed obviously still 3/4 of the way asleep, her eyes seemingly still shut.

 I, in my highly caffeinated state, said, “Amber, do you want to go shooopiingggg?”

At that point, my daughter stopped, and, in slow motion, turned to look at me and the look on her face was priceless. She looked at me as if I were an alien who had just landed on Earth and asked her if she wanted to go to Mars. I honestly wish you could have seen it. She then, in an equally incredulous voice said “Mom, it’s still DARK outside!

I then had to guide her sleepiness over to the couch where I was sitting and explain to her the concept of Black Friday. I assure you, she was wishing at that point in time that the woman who gave birth to her wasn’t a bit of a nutcase. In fact, if I read the expression on her face correctly, I think she was trying to figure out if she were living a nightmare. All she wanted was to make her way back to slumberland. She just sat there….speechless, trying to figure out how to get out of this.

I didn’t give her the chance. It’s the ‘attack while the brain’s still sleeping’ strategy.

Next thing we all knew, I went in, woke up her younger sister, told them “Get dressed! HURRY! Oh and dress warmly, we’ll have to wait in a really long line in the cold until the store opens!” Good times!

 My poor, defenseless daughters

So I too readied myself, bundled us all up, grabbed the ads, some hot chocolate & we bolted out the door. Ok, I bolted, they dragged their butts still in utter, complete shock at the abuse I was inflicting on them.

As we  arrived at the store and saw the line, the adrenaline hit me. It’s that feeling that we Black Friday shoppers know all too well, the “OH no! I have to hurry, the line is getting long and I may not get the things I came for” feeling. I believe my main shopping goal was a radio for an unbelievable low price and a few games for my nephew who was 4 at the time.

So we made our way to the line. Ahhh… here we are, we’ve now assured ourselves amongst at least the first 100 or so to get in the store! The girls, a little more awake now, shivered beneath their layers of clothing. I got the ad out and we huddled & strategized.

Ok, I strategized, they glared

and shivered.

 Before we knew it, it was time. The line was moving. I told them to stay close, and hold on to my clothing so that we would all stay together. (For the record, I purposely did not take my gentle offspring to one of the stores that are known for causing violence during this tradition. I took them to one of the milder ones for all of our safety.)

So there we were, shuffling along with the line, towards that open door,

and warmth

and good deals

and chaos.

As we passed the “late arrivers” who were kept at bay by security so as not to rush to the front of the line that we early birds had spent freezing our noses and our toeses off, I couldn’t help but feel a little bratty schoolgirl come out in me and I secretly wanted to yell “Ha ha! No butting! WE actually got here EARLY” but now that wouldn’t be a good example for my impressionable teen & preteen would it? So I spanked that bratty schoolgirl and sent her to the corner of my mind while I walked exactly 2 inches from the lady in front of me, grasping my children the whole way.

Once through the doors, we hurriedly grabbed a cart and walked quickly towards electronics.

The adrenaline & excitement were palatable.

As we neared the area where the radios were, I could see a palette of them towards the back of the aisle. I guided the girls to a safe area out of the flow of traffic “Wait here and hold on to our cart. I’m going in there” and pointed towards the huddle of about 40  sandwiched people sardined in the aisle waiting to get their deal, the same deal I wanted. The girls looked at me with that all too familiar “Are you crazy” look on their faces. I do believe I also saw fear for the safety of their caretaker,

 their mommy. 

I think they thought I may not come back. I assured them it was ok. I will return to go on to our next goal. And with that, I left my young to guard our cart while I threw myself into the hoard of feeding shoppers.

Making ones’ way towards the loot is not for the chlosterphobic. You are squished in a small area with strangers, your fellow humans, all hoping to get a good deal on an item that will make you the family hero, all while saving a few bucks.

As I emerged from the crowd, holding the radio above my head, not in victory but because there was no room to hold it in front of me, my girls spotted me and I could see the relief and the pride on their young faces. I had gone into the fire and emerged not only in tact to feed them another day but also with loot! They started jumping up and down cheering “YAY MOM! You got one!!” because they’re a little crazy too.

 I felt like the champion provider of tunes that day! I think it was that moment that their attitudes changed. Something in their minds ‘clicked’, I had created 2 little black Friday monsters.

 NO time to waste relishing this moment though, this store had games like Ice Breakers and Cooties for $1.88 a piece! What a STEAL! Carry on to the toy department!

Again, the loot we wanted was at the very back of the toy aisle, as I swiftly set my youngins in a safe, quiet place just steps away from the chaos, I said, Wait here, I’m going in! And this time I did not see fear on their faces, I saw pride! They too were pumped with anticipation and adrenaline. I even heard them chanting as I walked into the hoard of people “GO MOM, GO MOM” I was never prouder to have 2 supportive nutcase daughters.

I again, made my way back to the poor, defenseless underpaid workers at the back of the aisle handing out these games off of big palates. I grabbed the game “Cooties” for my nephew and holding it above my head (this time for victory’s sake) made my way back towards the edge of the crowd. Before I reached the end of the crowd I heard my youngest exclaiming at the top of her voice “Mom’s got COOTIES!!! Mom’s Got Cooties!!!” When I finally reached her, through my hysterical laughter I told her she may not want to yell that too loud and the 3 of us laughed our butts off as I saw the realization of what she had been saying fall across her face.

Good times for sure.

I thank God for my little nut cases, they’re the best daughters in the world.

In the end, we stood in an all too long line for the check out, relishing our victories as a team, packed our loot into our car, went to breakfast and relived it all, giggling the whole time.

Now, years later, with my oldest away at college, I called her a week ago to tell her how much I couldn’t wait for her to come home for Thanksgiving. When I asked “So, should we plan to get up at 3 am to go Black Friday shopping?” She answered without hesitation “YES!!!!!!!”

 and so it continues.

Wish us luck!

 

Wrangling Rascals

I recently had the opportunity to take 4 little rascals that have a strong hold on my heart, to the park for pictures.

Taking portraits of kids, any kids, can be a bit of a challenge at times.

Children are so full of energy!

 I’m one of those few million people who wishes I knew how to bottle that energy!

And so, you can’t expect when you have 4 bundles of energy, to get every shot just right.

I don’t care whether we’re talking kids, or adults, when you have more than one person, it can be difficult to get them to look the same direction, pose the way they should, smile at the same time, not blink, not scratch, I could go on and on and on,

but I won’t,

I’m sure you get the idea.

Oh and you also have to beware of those other pesky photographers! (Notice the upper right  & left corners?) Yes, they just stepped right into my frame. Not that I did that to anyone that day, no way, not me!

 (Sorry if I did!)

And then you always have the wise guy…or girl in this case.

Dang I love these kids!

Then, you get the photos that you came for, Cheesy smiles and all!

I was fortunate enough to get some pictures that captured their individual personalities. We have here a ball of energy & the slightly more subdued and reflective one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the end was able to also take home a photo that shows the connection & comfort they have with each other.

 Thats a wonderful day.

What is Your Perspective?

When it comes to opinions, they’re like um, brains, yep, brains, we all have one. 😉

As different as we all are, so are our perspectives.

I love to have different people look at the same subject, photo (in my case), and give their opinion.

It still never ceases to amaze me how one person can look at a photo and say “Meh, it does nothing for me,” and the next person can come along and that same photo is their favorite. It reminds me how ultimately diverse we all are.

Meet Pricilla, my cousin breeds, raises, trains and sells  horses. I love going there to visit. This is the newest addition. She has an older brother out there somewhere named Elvis.

Which do you prefer? Why?

Now from these, which is your favorite, why?

Notice how color vs. Black and white can completely change the mood of the same photo? I think its because as much as I favor color, it can be distracting to the emotion of a picture. Black and white photos lay bare the soul of the moment. This is especially true in photos of human interaction, but can even be viable in photos of non humans as shown above.

Art, whether a painting, a photograph, a drawing, or even sculpture will only stand out to an audience if it stirs an emotion, a memory, a feeling. That is one reason taste can vary so widely, it varies as do our life experiences and our perspectives.

 Maybe this also helps explain why theres so much chaos during election time. Different life experiences, different perspectives. It would be nice if we could all learn to appreciate each others differences instead of judge each other on them.

Now completely off the subject, I also just want to let my loyal readers know that I’m tired of pizza and take out. I’ll hopefully have some time to cook some things up here soon! I’ve got many recipes to still try and share, stay tuned.

My Baby is Looking at Colleges

Monday I took my baby to look at a college.

Ok, so she’s not exactly an infant as that may sound, she’s 17 and a Senior in High School deciding where to go to college.

But she’s my youngest of 2, so she’s one of my babies. Don’t judge me, they will always be my babies.

She’s my artist child, my right-brained thinker, my music lover.

My oldest will save the earth and the animals, and my youngest will paint the world with beauty and music.

No pressure though kiddos.

So she’s 95.5% sure she’s going to a college close to home, it’s a commutable distance but she still wants to dorm it. I completely understand and am just glad she will be close. She’s also decided that while she wants to be an artist, she also loves kids and wants to major in either Music or Art education as a career.

We went on the tour of the college Monday. When we entered the Arts Auditorium, her face lit up and I could see the excitement in her eyes. Then came the old familiar welling up of tears. I choked them back, after all, I didn’t want to embarrass my baby girl almost grown daughter. I’m all too familiar with this feeling, I had a similar feeling when I took my oldest to college. I unloaded her stuff, walked around the campus with her, ate lunch in the cafeteria then we walked together to the parking lot for my 4 1/2 hour drive home. I had been choking back those tears all day too but I thought it was mostly because she would be so far from home, and I’m sure that was a lot of it. As I got in my car that day, I told myself, “Stay Strong!” and somehow held back the flood of emotion and sobbing until after I had driven out of her sight. I wanted to remain strong for her and I didn’t want to embarrass her. As soon as I was out of sight though, I had to pull my car off the road and let loose. I had to release the flood as the dam walls were going to explode. I cried and I wasn’t even sure why. It wasn’t that I was horribly sad, it was more a cry for the swift passage of time, the pride, the fact that she was 4 1/2 hours away, and something else I just couldn’t put my finger on. After I gathered my composure, I got back on the road & called my oldest baby girl and admitted to her that mommy had to pull over and sob. She chuckled a little and admitted she too went back to her room and cried a little. Let me tell you mom’s & dad’s, cutting that umbilical cord is a strange mix of emotions.

So back to my youngest baby girl (something tells me I haven’t completely cut the cords yet….hmmmmm). The entire tour I choked back those feelings again. I was puzzled because I am pretty sure she’s going to be close to home. I’ll be seeing her often (like when she needs her laundry done!) so why these feelings now?

I looked around at these kids, young adults milling about, busy on their way to class, some sleeping on the sofa’s in the library, some studying diligently, some giggling with their friends,  that is when I realized this feeling encompasses so many things.

It’s about pride.

It’s about the realization that these little bundle I gave birth to, what seems like just yesterday, is getting ready to move on to the next phase in her life, she’s getting ready to cross that bridge from teen to adult.

Being a parent is about caring for these little lives, feeding them, loving them, nurturing them, guiding them and watching the milestones pass one by one then sending them on to make their mark on this world and start the cycle all over.

It’s such an exciting and unsure time for them, such a mixture of emotions for us.

It’s All About You! Again!

Again today, it’s not about me. It’s all about YOU! Yes, You!

Ok, I have to say, I was very pleasantly surprised when my idea for “It’s All About You” post last Friday was received so well.

Even more, I enjoyed the memories that the picture I posted brought forth in some of my readers. I mean I REALLY enjoyed them!

The word ‘really’ doesn’t describe my feelings well.

I authentically, categorically, honestly, no…INDUBITABLY enjoyed them. You guys are awesome!

I was touched by every one of your memories.

It evoked memories of loved ones,

childhood,

camp,

 family vacations,

 peaceful moments

 and even memories of a favorite movie.

I think its a great chance to remember how similar and how different the experiences that shape our lives can be.

Ok, ok, ok, enough of me babbling and getting all sentimental.

As I was saying, I enjoyed this so much, I’ve decided to make this a regular or semi regular part of my blog.

On Fridays I will post a picture and I will ask you to tell us what memory or feeling it brings out in YOU. You can post your memory or feeling short & sweet in the comment section, or if it inspires a tale better left for your blog, please link said tale back to the comment section so we can all share in your creation.

This last Monday, when I took a day off work to wander aimlessly around the country side with G2 (my camera) and a good friend who lives in the area, we stumbled across something interesting. On some winding country road that I probably couldn’t find again if you paid me, we decided to pull onto a gravel road to turn around. As we did, we were at first taken by the view, but as I was turning around, something caught my eye down a slight hill off to the side.

After I knocked away the “What a shame this classic sits here, rotting away” feelings, I remember weekends during the decade of big hair (yes the 80’s) and teen angst. I remember a local Hardees parking lot where everyone cool cruised around in their cool, and not so cool cars and hung out sitting on bumpers, walking around, some smoking, until the cops came and chased us all away.

Ahhhh, the memories…..

Wait, this isn’t about me today, it’s about you.

Close your eyes (ok, wait until you’ve read this first) then close your eyes and go back, or not so far back…….

What memories does this picture bring forth?

It was a Beautiful, Strange Day

Have you ever had a day where you saw more than one strange thing and just said WTF?

This last Monday was one of those days. It was a gorgeous day, the last day of a busy 4 day weekend for me.

Earlier in the morning, I walked a spectacular golf course with colors abounding.

It was so beautiful it was downright spiritual.

Then I met up with a great friend I’ve known since I was 16, (which was only a few years ago? HA!).

We had breakfast at a small town pub and then decided to explore the countryside.

Along the way I saw a tree with these laying under.

They look like alien brains!

Maybe I’m just too much of a suburbia girl that I’ve never seen this before but it was downright strange.

Anyone know what these are?

 

We were exploring Missouri wine country.

I live very close to Missouri wine country but not close enough!

I don’t say that because I’m a wino, I say that because Missouri wine country is downright beautiful.

Its made up of rolling hills looking over river bottoms, and small towns with quaint stores.

 

This is a winery just down the road from where that friend of mine lives. (It was taken a few days before.)

But on the day that we were exploring the countryside, we saw these and said “What the….?”

These are in someones yard, smack dab in the middle of one of those tiny quaint towns. I’d guess the population to not be more than 100 or so. 

More exploring, down gravel roads (in my formerly clean black car) and more beautiful color.

Again, if you knew how many pictures I took on this day, you’d laugh at me. 

 You’d say, “You’re so Craaaazzy”.

So my friend and I, we head back to the small town pub where we had coffee & breakfast.

Thats also where we had lunch.

There’s no Mc’y anything in this neck of the woods (Thank God).

I then give my dear friend a hug and we promise to get together again soon.

And I head home.

(The following were taken with my cell phone, G2 was put away resting after one heck of a workout, so that is why they is not the best quality.)

On my way home I see this:

 And you’re saying, “So?”

(Don’t you just love how I read your minds?)

I pass this road fairly often.

So imagine my surprise when I saw a tree taller than all in the land, towering over everything else.

Originally, I thought I was really losing it. That someone as visual as myself has missed this towering tree after all of these years.

Then logic set in and I realized I would have never have missed this tree….So….wtf?

Then I got closer.

(For the record, I was sitting at a stop light when taking this picture.)

So….its a pole, not a tree at all,

Nothing connected to it.

Except for what I can only assume are fake branches.

and I said…..

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm……

Today, it’s all about You!

 

Hello! Today I’d like to try something different.

I would love to hear about YOU! Yes, you!

One of the things that attract us to artwork, whether it be photography or something different, is the emotion or memory it stirs.

Sure, sometimes its about aesthetics but most of the time it’s not.

So this is where you come in.

See this picture below?

Does it stir a memory or memories for you?

If so, what are they?

Does it stir a feeling or an emotion? If so, tell us about it.

Maybe, just maybe, you don’t like to go outside and you’re a complete homebody or city person and this just doesn’t stir up any emotion or feeling at all,

thats o.k. too.

We all have different experiences & perspectives in this tapestry of life.

Rules, there are no rules. Just tell us all about your memory short & sweet, OR,

if this has inspired a longer tale, you can link the story about your tale in the comment section below.

For now, I will save the memories that this picture reminds me of for later.

Today I want to hear from you.

Distracted by a Dandelion

Saturday morning I woke up and decided to go see what autumn colors I could find. I had things to do later that day so I wanted to stay close to home. I grabbed G2 (my camera) and went to a local park. The crisp cool air and golden sunlight of early morning greeted me. Yes, some trees were turning but we’re not quite at ‘peak’ color yet. I walked through the grass, wet with dew, up to the lake to find the colors of autumn reflecting in the clear calm lake I took a few shots .

As I was walking around the lake to get a better perspective, I was pulled in another direction. Across a small stretch of grassy ground, up on a slight hill I saw a dandelion caught in a beam of morning sunlight. I ask you, who, but me, could be distracted by a frigging dandelion? Well, if you’ve read this you’ll remember that occasionally I can be easily distracted. Or this you also know I’m easily entertained. But then again, this was Saturday, I wasn’t working so I have every right to let anything I want distract me and trust me, I often do.

So I walked over for a closer look.

 

And then I sat, on the dewy ground, not caring that my pants were going to get soaked, and I took an even closer look.

Then why not lay down in the wet grass & go in even closer?

There is beauty all around us. Sometimes it’s so small and intricate we pass it by. Sometimes its good for the soul to stop, get a little dirty, and take a close look.

After I looked ever so close, I sat up and looked around. Imagine sitting in the middle of a park on the wet grass, in the morning sun, just soaking it all in. Breathing. Seeing. Feeling… thanking. I really didn’t care too much what passer by’s thought. At that moment I was just living, fully aware of the beauty around.

 Oh and about those autumn colors, I’ll give you some peeks soon.