Thursday, August 28, 2008

Busy as a Bee

Yep, that's me...I've been scurrying around like a little bee this week, attempting to get everything in order for this coming semester.

I've been on the phone a lot, trying to secure FETE (Field Experience for Teacher Education) placement for myself this coming fall, which has been a more challenging job than I had anticipated. Today the ball finally dropped when I found out I'll be working in a 5th grade classroom at one of the elementary schools right here near my house. I feel an immense sense of relief at finally having put this piece of the puzzle in place.

I've also been hammering a lot these past couple days, which has caused both my dogs to think I've lost my mind. I've been re-hanging the art work in the dining room, which I finally finished painting last week before leaving for the lake. The room is slowly coming back together, but it's still a mess so I'm holding off on a final image until I have it the way I want it. The other cause for my hammering is the recent addition to my fruit & vegetable kitchen art collection. Every year at the Ann Arbor Art Fair, I collect at least one piece from an artist who lives in Grand Rapids, MI named Carol C. Cline. She makes very realistic looking ceramic fruits and vegetables, which she mounts on wooden plaques she reclaims from old, dilapidated barns in Northern Michigan. Not only do I love these pieces, but I love the idea that remnants of old barns now have a home in my kitchen. I've been collecting from her for just about as long as I've been married, in addition to receiving at least one of these as a gift for my birthday each year. Now that I've got 18 pieces hung (excuse the bad cell phone images,) I think my collection looks pretty cool.

The watermelon has always been a favorite of mine, it was added to my collection a couple of years ago when I received it as a gift from my parents.

And here you can see most of my collection, though the picture is terrible. Before too much longer I'll have to move to a bigger wall!

I've also been keeping busy by doing lots of processing. Yesterday I spent an hour or so simmering the remainder of the peppers and tomatoes from my parents garden into bases for soups, etc. this winter. The peppers smelled lovely as they were simmering on the stove, I couldn't resist taking {yet another} photo.

By processing, I also mean processing of the photos from the recent wedding I did. Since I shoot most of my professional work in RAW format, that means I have to go through and "process" each image before it's in a usable format I can give to clients. This is a time consuming endeavor, but the RAW files allow me more control for exposure and tonal quality, which seems like a good trade off to me. I only shoot the really important images in RAW, but that still amounts to a lot of hours I need to spend on the computer post-shoot. Sometimes I get tired of the repetitiveness of the work, but overall this is a chore I enjoy.

Finally, I spent some time today catching up with Trisha, who's an old friend from my WCC days. Seems funny to refer to that as old since it was only a few years ago, but so much has changed for me since then that it seems old. Anyway...I had a great lunch with Trisha, who's in town from Florida this week. It was really good to catch up with her and reminisce about days gone by.

Finally, I rounded out my day with a back-to-school shopping trip to none other than Salvation Army, where I found enough great deals to make anyone happy. I got a pair of pants, five shirts, and two two-piece sweaters for $30.76! This will go a long way towards making me look presentable for my upcoming subbing jobs. So all in all, my last week of summer solitude has gone by in a fervor fitting for the end of summer. I'm still not ready to get back into the full swing of life next week, but I'm a lot closer than I was a few days ago! :)

For now I'm off to catch what's left of Barak's democratic nomination speech!

Monday, August 25, 2008


We got home from a week on Portage Lake near the Huron River yesterday. My parents rented a cabin for the week, and we were able to enjoy the benefits of hydrotherapy for a few days! The weather was very cooperative, with only a couple of storms scattered here and there. We spent a lot of time swimming in the lake, tubing, riding around in the boat, and enjoying lakeside camp fires in the evenings. I enjoyed the time with my family, and today I truly feel refreshed.

Not all was sunshine and roses though...Michael lost his wedding ring while we were swimming in the lake on Friday. :( This was very upsetting to both of us since he's had that ring for the better part of 12 years. We both know it's just a thing, but it's a pretty important one and we're sad. We'll get something new, I'm sure...but I have no idea when that will be possible. Years ago I took a photo of his hand with that ring, and I'm really hoping I can find the image in my files now. It's a little unsettling to realize that while I can remember the ring in my mind, I can't reproduce it on paper, try as I might.

All in all, and despite having lost the ring, I had a very relaxing week on the lake,

from sunrise... sunset,

our vacation was an excellent commemoration to the end of summer.

I'm having trouble believing how quickly the season of sun has flown by, but it's true that the end is near. School starts up again next week and slowly but surely, I'm beginning to feel ready for the challenges of this coming semester. I'm hoping to be subbing a lot more this year, which should be interesting. I plan on spending most of the rest of this week getting the house in top shape, and making some bases for meals like chili and spaghetti, which we will want when the days get colder. My goal is to make life as easy as possible for myself on the home front so that school stress won't get the best of me.

Friday, August 15, 2008

From Drab to...

...well not quite fab (yet,) but I have been spending a majority of my time these past several days painting our dining room.

Despite all the work involved, I actually enjoy painting projects. To me it's one of the simplest and least expensive ways to completely transform a room. Anyone who's been here can clearly see how much I also love color. To me there's nothing quite as boring as a white wall! We have a midevil gold (brown) living room, blue master bedroom, green guest room, purple/yellow guest room, peach bathroom, sunshine yellow kitchen, and now to round it all out, a cayenne pepper red dining room! I'm sure a lot of people would come in our home and feel threatened by all the colors, but for me bold is the only way to go...I guess it's in my nature! As for Michael, he's used to having to incorporate my ideas. There was a time when we might have fought about things such as what color to paint a room, but we've reached a comfortable agreement that if I'm willing to do the work involved, I also get full design privileges, he really is a great guy. :)

This room is the last in our house to receive any TLC from me, and also the room that seems to take the brunt of our lack of storage, (i.e. clutter) so it's been a big job. Day one was spent cleaning out and moving the varying pieces of bulky furniture we have, day two was spent taping and painting the ceiling, and yesterday and today have been spent painting the walls. Last but not least will be installing new curtains (a job I'm hoping Michael will tackle) and then, finally re-assembling the room, hopefully in a much neater fashion. Although I have enjoyed the small computer cave I've created for myself amidst all the chaos, I will be relieved when the room is no longer such a disheveled mess.

Friday, August 08, 2008


Peaches are so good this time of year! Seriously, I jut sliced one into quarters and it literally fell off the pit, yummy! My ideal breakfast (thanks, Mom) is some sort of fruit, ideally a peach or nectarine, a little bit of cottage cheese, and a piece of toast. Today I had to forgo the cottage cheese, because the small amount I had left was off--talk about gross! But I digress. The whole point of me blogging about peaches was that my breakfast made me think of a song Michael and I used to love back in our early days. In the song, "Peaches" by The Presidents of the United States of America, they describe peaches as "nature's candy," and I would have to say I agree! Admittedly this video is a little bit strange with the whole ninja twist, but I still like the song.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Blue is Better!

You may remember my post about my attempt to keep my dog, Ditto from biting and chewing on some bites she got on her feet. Well since that time, my efforts have been basically to no avail. The sock trick worked for a while, but inevitably I would see her manage to work her way around my contraption. We found some after bite cream that seemed to help quite a bit, but that only lasts so long, besides the fact I don't really want my dog eating a bunch of anti-itch cream. I finally decided I would have to break down and buy her an Elizabethan collar to keep her from continuing this problematic behavior. I went to PetCo and was introduced to the newer, more pet friendly version of the plastic cone collar. The first size we bought was too small and she was able to maneuver around it, but I think we've finally found the size that will work. I can already see that the bites she couldn't reach with the first collar are much improved, so I imagine she will be as good as new in a few more days. In the meantime, we get to be graced by the presence of this lovely little face, neatly framed in blue:

Isn't technology wonderful?

Monday, August 04, 2008

An August Day with Ava

I'm about 45 minutes from home today, helping my sister out with my niece, Ava. My sister gouged the cornea of her eye with the belt clip on her name badge while she was at a work conference last week. That part of the story is long so I won't share it here, but I'm very thankful she will be OK. She needs to rest a lot, and it's really hard for her to see right now. She's in some pain, and the injury is more than a little inconvenient, but the doctor said her eye should heal on its own in a few days. I'm more than happy to do what I can to help...and the extra time with my niece is priceless to me. We went to the park this morning and she was adorable. I couldn't resist the opportunity for a few pictures, which of course I have to post here. :)

It's a big, big world out there!!

Sunday, August 03, 2008


I've been attending services at a small local church for about the past three weeks. Today the sanctuary looked unusually full and I figured out that was because today is communion Sunday. I haven't taken communion for years, so I felt somewhat nervous about the idea. The pastor was mindful though, and made sure all the guests felt welcome. The experience was refreshing, and I'm glad I attended the service this morning, despite being extremely tired when I woke up.

I can't quite put my finger on what's made me finally begin going to church again. I've been wanting to go for a long time, but I've never found a church that really made me feel comfortable here in Michigan. If I'm being honest, I've only put forth about a 25% effort in my quest, which I'm sure is a large part of the problem.

I'd also be lying if I said this was an easy decision for me. I've experienced some rather significant anger towards God these past years, dealing with infertility and other hardships. It's been difficult for me to begin to make peace with my own feelings of uncertainty and disillusion where God is concerned. I've also got some reservations about organized religion in general, and the judgmental nature that somehow seems to accompany churchgoers. Somehow I struggle with the exclusive nature of some organized religions...the notion that there can only be one way to worship God or approach spirituality.

Still, with all that being said, I've felt an irresistible pull towards church that has only gotten stronger the longer I've tried to shove it into the recesses of my mind. Spirituality seems to be the one quadrant of my life where I can't seem to find what I'm looking for. I've begun, over the years, to accept my own state of lost-ness and anger as one way to relate to God. I can be mad at Him...confused about Him and and still desire a relationship with Him. My relationship with God can also be independent of a formal church setting, but that is still an area where I struggle. None of this is easy to talk about either, but today I can't seem to keep quiet. I think slowly but surely I may be finding a church where I can allow myself to belong again. *Maybe*

The thing is, church was huge for me as a young girl and adolescent. My whole family attended church regularly, and I attended church camp every summer. I even went through confirmation as a teenager, not an experience I took lightly. Some of my best friends through high school were the people I went to church with. How do you go from that to where I've been these last years? How does a person get so completely lost and separated from church...from God? Moving to Michigan after high school was a huge factor, probably the biggest. But there were and are other attributes at play here too. I've been so dissatisfied with the pat answers given by the Christian faith. The notion that bad things happen to good people because of free will, and that God has some master plan that we all fit into...that God is completely in control and that He leads us where we are meant to go. Is it really...can it really be that simple? After 9/11 I went to church, seeking answers...and what I was told was that God didn't allow 9/11 to happen, people did. That just wasn't good enough for me...I felt so empty and lost with that as the answer to all evil...and there began another chapter in my lost quest to find God.

I don't know...I certainly don't have any of the answers, I am still very uncertain of where I fall on the scale between organized religion and a personal, church-independent relationship with God. One thing I do know though, is that I have to at least try. I have to continue to seek and ask and wonder...and only after I do that will I be able to comfortably make a more informed decision about the question of church for myself. In all likelihood this could go on for years, I certainly don't expect the answers to my myriad questions to fall into my lap overnight. I guess, as with most of life, one day at a time is truly the only way.

Saturday, August 02, 2008


...this one might make you cry, I can't seem to stop. But it is very touching and sweet, worth the tears.

Friday, August 01, 2008


...I'm shooting a wedding for my husband's boss, talk about pressure!! :) I'm actually feeling pretty good about it though, just need to be sure all my ducks are clean, shiny, and in a neat little row. It's been a while since I've done any weddings, this one should be simple and beautiful, and I think it will be fun. It will be the first digital wedding for me, but so far that's turning out to be so much simpler than all the hoops I used to jump through for film. Not to mention the added cost film and processing used to entail...I actually stand a chance of making a true profit this time around, which will be welcome! :)