slide show

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Winner winner... Black & White

I just love black and white.  I always process all my image in color first.  And often when I can’t get it just right, I resort to black & white and ta dah!  It’s just perfect!  Shame on me for not starting with black & white in the first place!  Little cabin in the woods has become our black & white photo gallery, and I adore the images all around the cabin taken by a variety of family members taken over the decades.
And I loved looking at the images y’all entered.  Thank you for inspiring me! 

First the runner up…
Jen @ Leary Family Shenanigans---Maybe I just really really missing my GrandDaddy and my grandmother, both of whom were veterans.  But this image just made my heart soar.  I love the way he's looking down... so modest, and the setting is just plain ol' normal, emphasizing to me how normal our soldiers, our heros are... just one of us.  He could be anyone's (everyone's) family member.  (Please thank him for me for all he does.)  Oh yea, not to mention the wonderful processing and frame.  Does his mama have this image?  How proud she must be!

And the winner…
So there was this one image that I kept going back to again and again.   From the moment she entered it, I just adored it.  And judging by the voting, y’all agreed!  (Not that I’m always going to pic the winner based on the votes.  But it sure did help confirm my decision this time!)
Cori @ The Way I See It---This image is just magical!  I love every single thing about it!  The composition! Chrystal clear focus.  Eyes with catch lights.  A wide range of tones that is so important to black & white images.  Even the way she’s peeking from the sweater is so sweet.  And the thing that threw me over the top was the textures!  Simply gorgeous!  Cori, thank you for entering it!  Honestly I adored the image of your grandmother too! (Cori-Contact/email/comment me with your email address so I can forward you the code and install instructions for your brand new 2011 Porsche 911 Picture Perfect winner's badge for your blog.)

July is just around the corner.  Are you capturing summer moments with your camera?  July’s theme will be announced and entries will start the first part of next week.  Can’t wait to see what you come up with! 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Images from my hometown

I don't know if it's being so close to my parents...
or the town square complete with band stand...
or watching my mom hold my son's hand...
or just being in my childhood home.  Which seems so much smaller.  When did they lower the ceilings?
But I miss home.  I miss the town I grew up in.  I miss being proud that I wasn't a city girl.  I miss the lack of a Starbucks on every corner.  I miss not being run off the road by chrome-bumpered Hummers.  Shockingly I miss the fact that in a small town it might take 5-6 working days for a plumber to come to an emergency house call.

So I present as evidence, images from my visit home...
You'll frequently find us lounging on the front lawn when we visit my parents home.  Waving to the neighbors as they drive by.
T&J play choo choo train.
My mom's larkspur and yarrow.
We went on a picnic to see some old friends.  It's not that great a pic.  But here's the thing about this photo.  These are the only 2 men I've ever dated.  Sitting side by side.  Enjoying each other's company.  I married one.  My best friend married the other.
Ya... it's that small of a town.

Did I mention the town square?
It's a great place to stop and enjoy ice cream on a warm day.
There a lot of this going on at the square.
In the center of the square, is this memorial plaque for local veterans.  My grandfather's and great uncle's names are listed on this plaque.
And for as many times as we've tried to move out of the city and failed, I can only image that we'll try again.  I'm really hoping it's soon.

the long road

Monday, June 27, 2011

Two types of friends

I returned from my home town and my high school reunion to little cabin in the woods exhausted and happy.  I had so much fun and reminisced with many old friends.  There’s just something about being with folks who know where you come from.  There’s so much you don’t have to explain.  So much I don’t have to say about being a small town girl.  Like I could breathe a bit deeper.  Not sure if that makes any sense, but it was nice.  Really super duper nice. 

Then I discovered that I have no internet, and I’m feeling a bit like I’m missing a limb.  Or at least missing my bloggie friends.  Can you hear me now???  How ‘bout now?  Oh dear bloggie friends… where art thou?  I have only squirrels, baby chipmunks, and a bevy of children to keep me company.    Don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful company, but you’re missing.
Speaking of the reunion, these are my best childhood friends.  We became best friends in 6th grade.  In middle school we were pretty inseparable.  We attended our first dances together and learned to dance to Adam Ant and Survivor.  I learned how to drive with them in a yellow 1970 Volkswagen bug.  It was a sweet ride even then.  In high school we took different paths.  One of us sang and toured with the church choir.  One of us had blue air and wore a wedding dress to a Madonna concert.  And one of us had a steady boyfriend so steady that she neglected precious friendships.  And even though we were very different, we remained wonderful friends.  So we didn’t need a high school reunion to keep in touch.   

Somewhere in the midst of growing up we purchased friendship rings and had the rings engraved with B.F.F. and the date.  It was super serious stuff for 13-year-old girls.  Over the decades one of the rings was lost, one was stolen, and one was tucked away in a jewelry box for safe keeping.  But over the decades our friendship has lasted through different colleges, and marriages, and babies, and pounds, and now wrinkles. 
I think I’ll have this one printed, framed, and put it next to my bed.

Miss you two already!
A lot.

ps-If you’re reading this I’ve shamelessly hacked into the neighbor’s wireless.  I know.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Please vote for your favorite and Crazy 8 highlights

  • It's been a long while since I've post Crazy 8 highlights.  But I' a creature of habit.
  • We have some awesome entries for Picture Perfect and voting has now started.  I mean some seriously adorable kiddos and one grandma that I want to adopt!  I'm really looking forward to the whole voting part to help me make my final decision choosing a winner.  Not sure if ultimately I'll go with the favorite or come out of left field with my winner.  I'm kinda wishy washy like that.  Sometimes I'm a lemming, and sometimes I like to stand out from the crowd.  But after all the debate in this house the last two contest, I'm so grateful to have the input.  So head down there and vote, please!  (click on the Picture Perfect button on the right column to get there.  Or click here.)
  • Tess is doing wonderfully with her new earrings! She never touches them or even notices them unless it's to show them off.  Many of you mentioned getting both ears pierced at one.  It's doesn't seem possible to do it that way here in Arizona.  All the places I asked, said it was "against policy" to pierce both ears at once.  That kiddos can be literally jumpy when the gun goes off, and if they aren't done exactly at the some time, this can lead to rips and holes in the wrong place.  Makes sense.  After about 6 stores saying the same thing, I gave up.  I remember Sunny getting both her ears pierced at the same time.  Things change.  Poor sweet Walmart lady.
  • Spell check doesn't like Walmart or wishy.  
  • Our family is off today to my high school reunion.  Too many years to admit easily.  25.  Ugh.  I wish I was many pounds lighter with less wrinkles, but it is what it is, so off we go.  I'm looking forward to "going home," seeing some old faces, and reconnecting.   Would you believe our homecoming king is now a gynecologist?  Really, I couldn't make that stuff up!
  • And speaking of "going home," does anyone else love going to their home town as much as me?  I'll start by saying that the small town I grew up is simply magical.  4 seasons.  A town square in the middle of it all.  Or maybe it's just the idea of getting a hug from my own papa.  (Nothing like being encircled by your father's arms even at 43 years old.)  It is a really special place, once declared the best place in the United States to bring up a family.  Not that I think that is necessarily true.  But it is quite Norman Rockwell.  My papa was a fireman and my mom worked in an elementary school, further enhancing the Rockwell image for me.   We'd love to move back there someday.  Someday.  
  • I think Jude might be dealing with some asthma issues.  Nothing serious.  But I'm on the lookout for it these days.  Patch had asthma a a toddler.  Must run in the family.  (adoption humor)  Problem is when Patch had it, I couldn't tell.  Made me feel like the worst mama in the world when I learned I should have had my boy in the ER.  And I'm not confident at all in my ability to determine what is an asthma attack and what is just a cold or allergies or croup.  So I'm not sure if I'm over reacting to Jude's funky cough-cry-breathing-wheezing-allergy issues.   Hmmmmmmm.
  • Tess is naked a lot these days.  Can't see to keep clothes on her.  I woke up last night (2:38am to be exact) to find her next to my bed wearing only a backpack.  I guess this ultimately brings up the additional problem that she's been frequently "exploring" in the middle of the night.  Eating.  Wandering.  Exploring.  Wrecking.  This girl sure keeps us on our toes. 
  • The blog makeover is coming along.  I'm really a bit too excited about it if you know what I mean.  Found a wonderful gal who is helping it all come to be.  Stay tuned for the grand re-opening!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rite of passage gone wrong (or how I came to love the Walmart lady)

So she was all like running around happy and excited!  We had finally gotten to the Walmart for her pwettyeawings.  She was so excited.  Really she was.  {And when you get to the end of this story, please reconsider these first sentences.}
And I was all like, I am so doing the right thing cause she's so excited and happy... right?  My other two girls had their ears pierced at 6 and 9 months of age.  And I'll have you know it went swimmingly.
And Tess kept admiring at all the pwettyeawings.  And we even pierced her beloved Helen's ears that morning at home, (a stuffed dog she sleeps with) and she was so like pwease mama, pierce Tessy's eaws, pwease!
And I'm pretty sure all the folks in Walmart were thinking, (because it's all about the external validation.  No?) that they were gonna nominate me for mother of the year.  Yea right.
So Mrs-I-have-more-experience-piercing-ears-than-anyone-on-the-planet-because-I-live-in-a-small-town-and-work-at-the-jewelry-counter-at-Walmart takes one look at our little Miss enthusiasm and prepares herself mentally for what is about to unfold.  Obviously Mrs-Walmart-jewelry-counter-lady is way smarter than the crazy mama.  It's all that excessive exposure to Progesterone that have killed my brain cells.
See how it's all happy happy joy joy?  Roses and sunshine?  That's all about to change.
As Tess's first ear was pierced, Tess, blandly commented, ouch.
That's it.  Just a quiet matter of fact ouch.
I foolishly let myself envision this going off without a hitch.  Maybe the high pain threshold, side effect of post institutionalization orphans has a benefit after all?

***this is the point in the story where we switch to black & white for dramatic effect.  Think Wizard of Oz***

Notice the furrowed brow.  Notice the stink eye.
Tess realized Mrs. Walmart was loading the gun again.
Candy solves everything... right?
I remember a time in my parenting journey when I was so above candy.  Or bribery.  Much less using both simultaneously.  I've been plummeting ever since.

***at this point you'll have to use your imagination to visualize the carnage.  Photography became a bottom priority.***

The crying started.  Then the screaming.  Then my sweet and quiet love child Rosemary's Baby glared at Mrs-sweet-as-pie-Walmart-jewelry-counter-lady.  Tess screeched Go AWAY! at the top of her lungs.
Walmart patrons from as far as the automotive department came to witness the mother that was maltreating her child.

Tess, realizing she would need to take matters into her own hands to prevent what was about to come, (or rather feet seeing as how yours truly was holding her hands preventing her from scratching out Mrs-jewelry-counter-Walmart's eyes out) planted her foot against Mrs.-I-saw-this-coming-all-along-genius-Walmart-jewelry-counter-lady, and kicked her firmly in the shoulder.
Oh yes she did.
Tess kicked her.
And Mrs.-I-really-deserve-to-get-paid-far-more-money-for-this-job fell back onto the floor.
Taking a sunglasses display with her.**

The crowd was considerable at this point.

It was just the distraction we needed.
In a group effort, the 4 of us, Papa, Livy, Mrs. Walmart, and me, were ultimately able to wrestle this mighty 25 pound wonder.
We finally got the second ear pierced.

Patrons were snickering.  Pointing.  My Mother of the Year award was in undoubtedly in question.
Hoping distraction would be the answer, Papa whisked Tess away, who was still simultaneously shrieking and sucking on the lollipop, to the toy department.
I was left wondering if Walmart condones tipping.

About 10 minutes later, and since then, Tess adores her pwettyeawings.

And now that I'm at the end of this story, I'll leave you with this final image---
"So she was all like running around happy and excited!  We had finally gotten to the Walmart for her pwettyeawings.  She was so excited.  Really she was."
**Some artistic license may have been used in the telling of this story.  OK, so she didn't actually knock down the sunglasses display.  Maybe she just bumped it.  But still.

sorry. had to do it.

Notice anything different?
Oh come on!  Look closely!
I know I'm cute and all!
And I mean super duper cute!
But don't let my cuteness distract you.
Pay careful attention to the details.
Well if you can't figure it out, I'm certainly not going to tell you...

{PS-I have pictures of the whole saga.  It involves candy and high decible screaming and more!}

Monday, June 20, 2011

Wallow's aftermath

The fire is up to 519,000 acres and still burning.  That's bad news.
By comparison, the Yellowstone fires of 1988, the largest in U.S. history, was 793,000 acres.
The Wallow fired has destroyed 32 homes.  This land is largely uninhabited and because of this few homes have been destroyed.  But that is the exact beauty of it!  No people.  No Walmart.  No highways.  No good way for fire crews to get in there and fight the fire.  Just vast unsettled land where God speaks so loudly and clearly that it's hard to miss His message.  I've had many many discussion with Him out there.  Sometimes I just listen.  Sometimes I do most of the talking.
The good news is that the containment of the fire is up to 51%.  The northern and eastern sides of the fire (we are on the far northeastern corner) are under control.   I'm so very sorry New Mexico, this is where the fire is currently burning and traveling farther your direction.  The highway that skirts the northern border of the fire, SR260, reopened and Papa couldn't resist taking a Sunday drive to see what the land looked like.
Note the amount of crappola on my windshield.  It's not really the ideal circumstances for taking photographs, but I did my best.  It was either shoot through the tinted bug-smooshed windshield, or stick my head out the window at 65mph.
***note-no bugs were actually harmed during the creation of this blog post... not.***
Most of this land is dense ponderosa pine forests.  This is the mountain we ski on in the winter.
But on this northern end of the fire, the land can also open up into vast grass lands.  This is the high desert.  Lots of cattle and sheep too.
Reports are that the wildlife is disoriented by the fire and smoke.  We happened across this elk in the road.
Then we came over this little hill and saw the layer of smoke, so striking against the blue sky.
It's amazing how the highway acts as a barrier and stopped the fire from progressing across.  Notice the char only on the right side, but not on the left.
In many places we could still see the smoke rising off the land.
X-diamond Ranch is one of our favorite places to visit.   It's a few miles down the road, back in a canyon.
Despite all this charred earth, I've heard that X-Diamond Ranch is ok... thankfully.  And this is a sign that they left to express their gratitude.
And this is the little town of Eager, still sitting under a thick blanket of smoke.  It was evacuated for a long while, but now it's residents are back home.
Thank you thank you thank you fire fighters and hot shots that work this truly dirty, backbreaking work.  Thankfully the damage to homes has been limited and injuries have been few.  Prayers, dear Lord, that it stays that way.

PS---The blog is due for a makeover.  New format.  New colors.  Just new.  Any suggestions????
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