Thursday, December 31, 2009

Because everyone is doing it.....

....I will too. A year in review. Sorta. Just the highlights.

In 2009 my son became a legal adult, joined the military, went to basic training, graduated basic training and made me the proudest Mama on the planet.

In 2009. I went back to school for something I love and am good at and made my Mama the proudest Mama on the planet. I am carrying a 3.5 GPA which is astonishing if you knew me back in high school and college the first time.

In 2009 Shawn was laid off..twice! We have lived through both.

In 2009 Skylee turned a decade old.

In 2009 I made it through another year of not killing Shawn's dog.

In 2009 the Democrats took control and made me very hopeful for the least temporarily.

In 2009 I posted 100 pictures in 100 days.

In 2009 my Grandmother passed away exactly one week before my birthday.

Lots of other things happened in 2009 but those are what stand out in my mind without going back through my archives and looking. Who wants to look back anyway?? I hope 2010 is better than 2009. I hope the new decade is better than the last decade. More peaceful. One can hope right?
Happy OH TEN readers!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Disgruntled...line 2

I am seriously disgruntled with the town I live in. I hate this place. More than once I have regretted our decision to move to this back ass thinking, stuck in the past, do nothing town.

A few weeks ago the chief of police was fired. He supposedly wasn't doing his paperwork. The real reason I suspect is because he isn't from this area. This place shuns newcomers. The people who have lived here forever ask what side of town you live in. If you say the south side they back away and act like you are about to breathe the dreaded swine flu on them. If you are from the south side you live in the new houses. The houses they never wanted built. The chief that was fired lives on the south side.

We over her don't get our roads plowed very well. The roads over here resemble an ice rink. The roads on the north side are plowed down to the concrete and no one will die just trying to get to the gas station over there.
Speaking of plows, the jackass plow driver took our mail box out on Christmas Eve. Yesterday I was told that they would replace it if the plow hit it but not if the weight of the snow pushed it over. They will go out there and dig it out to see if there is a pock mark from the blade on the cement. If there isn't we are responsible. If there is we are responsible for putting a new one in and they will pay. I know for a fact there won't be a mark there and they won't replace it. Not because the plow didn't hit it but just because we live on the wrong side of town.
I would be all for selling and moving if we could get what we owe but we can't. The house across the street is listed for $65,000 less than what we paid for ours. Yep, I hate this town.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Brrrr! Darnit, its cold outside! We had a huge storm here last night and now the wind and severe cold have settled in. Is it spring yet??
Today this blog got it's first hater. How awesome is that? I have some jackass that hates me enough to leave me a shitty comment calling me a bitch that he even dug through the archives! Sweet!
Oh and this is the last week of school for the semester, then I have a whole month off! That is even sweeter.
Later gators!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mommy Moment of the Day

We are down to the last 2 weeks of school. Things are crazy busy here with all the final projects I am working on, one on one time with the kids has been extremely limited. When Hannah asked if she could jump in the shower with me tonight I jumped at the chance to spend some time with her.
As I was squirting shampoo in my hand she stuck her hand out so I gave her some too and started scrubbing at my hair. She soon pipes up and says "I am doing everything you do, I'm just like you!"
She washed her hair the same and rinsed it at the same time I did. She applied conditioner and allowed it to sit on her hair while she washed her body the exact same way I did. Armpits and belly then legs. She was so determined to do it exactly the way I did and mimicked me exactly until I sat down in the bottom of the shower to shave my legs. She sat down too and started brushing her teeth. After all she can't be exactly like me!
That one there, she is too darned cute for her own good!!

In other news, I got a new lens in the mail today. I am in lens love with it, took it out and fired off some practice shots. I think this lens may take my photography to a whole new level. Exciting stuff!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

In Your Face...

Generally I try to avoid the news because of my new found anxiety disorder. Not having the news on 24/7 is definitely new to me, I used to be a complete news junkie. There was rarely a news story I hadn't heard. Not anymore. Now the news induces panic. I cannot bare to hear about all the misery in the world. All of those horrible things could happen to me or worse my children. Seeing a story makes my mind wander into dangerous territory so for my own sanity I have started avoiding it.

This morning was different. I was flipping through channels and came across Good Morning America's coverage of a boy who was lit on fire by several other kids for ratting one of them out to the police for theft. The story made me literally ill. It started with feeling nauseous and ended with me sitting in bed with tears rolling down my face. What kind of animals could set another child on fire? What is wrong with this world?

The young boys name was Michael and my tendency to put myself into every tragedy reared its ugly head. My stillborn son's name was Michael. Matthew's twin. The Michael on tv had beautiful blond hair and piercing blue eyes. Just like my Matthew and what my Michael would have looked like. My mind wandered from there.

So, what I am struggling with internally is do I force myself to watch the news and feel all the horrible emotions and anxiety that sit right under the surface or do I tune out, bury my head in the sand and pretend the world around me is a safe place where no evil or tragedy comes to anyone? Is this 24 hour in your face news healthy for the human race or can our minds only process small amounts. Suffering has happened for the ages but it wasn't always a click away. Has that skewed our perception of life and our place in this world?

Deep thoughts for a Wednesday.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Studio News!!

Some big things are going on in my life right now and I am super excited!!
I have decided to build a small studio in the downstairs of my house! Yesterday I ordered lights, 2 new lenses and some other techie camera stuff! We drew up plans for building a half wall to keep the kids and the dog out of my area.
Exciting stuff!! Now I need to go find some backgrounds.
I should be open for sessions in a few weeks and I will be running some fabulous deals.
Like I said, I am beyond excited to get rolling with this!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A few weeks ago the kids and I were at Walmart picking up some groceries when I made the mistake of walking in front of some bitch while she was trying to decide exactly what kind or Oreo's she wanted. I walked passed her a bit and stopped to grab something (not Oreo's). She walked passed me and started grumbling to her husband about some people needing to learn some consideration. I did what any hot blooded blond woman would do. I turned to her and said "Really lady? Really? What the hell is your problem?" Her husband made a bee line to the end of the aisle as soon as I opened my mouth. He knew he wanted no part of me! Ha!

Just moments ago the girls were arguing and one says to the other..."Really lady? Really?" Doh! Right then and there I proclaimed myself mother of the year. My award is in the mail and should be delivered in 6-8 weeks....

Monday, November 2, 2009

Over The Top? Me? Well, Thank You!!

So you wanna know what is really awesome??
Here I am researching my little heart out, trying to figure out the importance of adjusting the resolution of an image and using the correct color profile when printing. When my little email sound thing goes bing alerting me to an email. Of course I clicked right over to see what could be so important (and well looking for an excuse to not do the research). I had an email from Joanie letting me know that she left something for me on her blog
.YAY!! I love presents!!
This is what I got!

The rules are as follows.....

~Answer the questions below using only one word (it's harder than it seems!)
~Thank the blogger who gave it to you (See above)
~Pass it on to 6 of your favorite bloggers (See below)

So here goes... Joanie you rock!! Muchas Gracias! If you all don't read her, why the hell not? You are missing out on one of the funniest, classiest, strongest, hard working women in the world. Get your asses over there!

So, on with the questions:

1. Where is your cell phone? Right behind me on the counter.
2. Your hair? depends what color I have my hairdresser color it. Usually blonde
3. Your mother? Awesome
4. Your father? Near
5. Your favorite food? Mexican
6. Your dream last night? I don't remember
7. Your favorite drink? Dr. Pepper

8. Your dream/goal? Right now, to be done with school and making some money from my photography
9. What room are you in? dining room
10. Your hobby? photography, crocheting, playing pogo, hopelessly addicted to facebook, procrastinating
11. Your fear? one of my kids dying or being badly hurt.
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? RICH!! Okay just doing better because the economy is better.
13. Where were you last night? home hungover.

14. Something you aren't? meek or quiet
15. Muffins? blueberry
16. Wish list item? a really kick ass lens, studio lights, misc. camera gear.
17. Where did you grow up? Wyoming
18. Last thing you did? Research then procrastination
19. What are you wearing? sweats
20. Your TV? 50 in samsung
21. Your pets? Mine? Turts and Fate. Everyone else's. Linus, Deeogee, Clara

22. Your friends? scattered about!
23. Your life? stressful
24. Your mood? stressed out about homework
25. Missing someone? always miss my Mom.
26. Vehicle? Saturn that I want to get rid of
27. Something you're not wearing? bra
28. Your favorite store? there are waaaay to many to name
29. Your favorite color? green
30. When was the last time you laughed? today
31. Last time you cried? Friday. That bitch.
32. Your best friend? Catherine Nicole.
33. One place that I go over and over? school
34. One person who emails me regularly? facebook notifications LOL

35. Favorite place to eat? Lira's and Papa Chuy's

Now I have to give this away?? Dangit! Only 6??
So the award is called over the top so I am going to choose by who's blogs I think are over the top.
Number one is Zipbag of Bones. If she were not my best friend and I didn't know her well I would think she took a lot of drugs before she posted.

Number two is Mayhem and Magic. Melissa and I have been friends for more than 8 years. She is over the top in a great sort of way!

Third is Better Terms. I have been reading Lisa since I first jumped into this blog game waaaaaay back in the AOL journals days. Lisa is everything I used to want to be in my past life before I changed dreams mid way. She owns a cafe and has my very same political views. How could I not love her?

Four is Nine Peas in A pod. I don't even know how I found Deb or how long ago but she has quickly become one of my favorite reads. She just married a hot guy and inherited a bunch more kids. She is like Super Woman.

Five is Shooting with Slinky. Lenora is one of my favorite photographers. Her images are hugely inspirational for me and I often tell people when I grow up I want to be as good at it as she is.

Last but not least is Sapphire Springs. Formally known as Lunatic Factory. I think Kate's blog is the first one I ever read. She like me is nutso in love with her cats and one of her favorite little dude's in the whole world is named Talan.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My itty bitty baby toe

Have I ever blogged about the time I broke my pinkie toe? I don't think so.
It was back when I was in college the first time, I was helping my friend Kasey who was a vet tech with the horses. She asked me to walk this mare for her so I haltered her up and led her out into the corral to walk her a bit. We had barely made it out of the stable when she stepped on my foot. It hurt like heck but I kept walking her and she stepped on me again. This time the pain was more than I could bare. I had Kasey finish walking her. We loaded up and headed back into town and stopped at our friend Dan's house. I finally took my ropers off to look at my foot, it was so swollen I could barely get my boot off. My poor baby toe was broken, my foot was swollen and eventually turned all sorts of pretty colors.
I have no idea what made me remember that story. Odd how my mind works some times.

I am in the midst of midterm week at school. I made it out alive today and aced my first exam. It's tomorrow's that I am nervous about. I have an A in that class but I was looking over the study guide and realized I don't know half of what is on there. I hate feeling like a moron so I shed a few tears and got down to studying. I didn't figure anything out but I tried. Tomorrow morning I plan to go in early and ask some questions. Tonight I'm sure I will have nightmares about color theory, color space and color profile but I am determined to do well tomorrow.
I'll let you all know. Later.......

Saturday, October 17, 2009


I earned the Mom of the Day award because I was able to remember Bode, Blue, Max, Sedare Cromwell, Zak, Tayna, Noah and Cupid.
The names of all Skylee's webkinz. Thank goodness Hannah didn't ask. I can't remember what hers are called.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Decade

Today you are 10 years old, double digits, a decade old. Can you believe it? 10 years ago today my dream of having a daughter came true and the Lord blessed me with you.

In the last ten years you have grown from a pimply newborn who cried non stop for the first few days until Grandma discovered you really liked to be swaddled into a happy baby girl who loved to go for walks and would sing la la la back at Aunt Jen and I as we walked you all over the neighborhood. You grew from a little girl who no one could understand and wouldn't talk because you were shy about being understood into an outspoken young lady with lots to say and no holds barred when it comes to saying it. You grew from a newborn to a toddler to a preschooler and a kindergartner to the lovely young lady you are right now and I couldn't be more blessed to be your Mom.
You have definitely grown and changed over the decade I have been blessed to know you and I can't help but imagine what the next decade will bring for you. I hope you are always as passionate as you are now, that you continue to stand up for yourself and other when you think things are wrong. I hope you continue to be your sisters best friend and your brothers' biggest pest. I hope you always have a passion for dance, for life, for learning and for fashion but most of all I hope you always want to always be near me, to be my shadow and my mini me while continuing to grow into your own awesome person.
I am just as excited for the next 10 years as I was going into the last 10. Love, Mommy

Saturday, September 26, 2009


I took this just a few minutes ago. Just another beautiful Minnesota sunset.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Blue Turtles and Good Luck

I'm a shopper. No secret that I love me some retail therapy.
Last week at the local Barn Boutique I fell in love with a beautiful hall tree. I wanted it. Bad. I decided for one danged time to be responsible. Stupid me. I have been thinking about this thing all week and went back today thinking if it was still there I would buy it. Totally gone :(

They did have one very similar pained gray with elephant heads for hooks. Easily fixed. The lady knocked some off the price for the work I would have to do on it. She knew
if I didn't buy it no one would. Who wants elephant hooks on their wall tree? I just have to paint it white to match my bathroom and take the hooks off and replace them. Yesterday I bought some beautiful fleur de lis hooks on sale at Michael's! Luck!

I decided on my way home from the boutique to run by the local thrift store. What I found there was the big score. The score I may be talking about for years. The score that my Mom did not understand when I called her super excited to share with her.
Last weekend Shawn and I stopped at a garage sale and I found the most beautiful shaped turtle casserole dish. The price tag was $40. No way! Pass. I however have dwelled on this dish all week thinking about how beautiful it was. Imagine my surprise of
it setting right there on the shelf at the thrift store with a price tag of $12!! 12 dollars people. From $40 to $12. It irritated me a bit that the woman wouldn't come down on the price at the garage sale but she would DONATE it to the thrift store. Anyway......
I walk up front to pay and this woman commented on how beautiful it was so I told her the $40 to $12 story then another woman and a man walked up on the conversation. Here we all are marveling at my good luck when the cashier asked the lady in front of me if she had a punch card. Ding, ding, ding. I have a punch card! A full punch card. A full punch card worth $10 off my purchase! Ca-Ching! My $40 to $12 turtle just became my $40 to $12 to $2 turtle!
That my friends was the deal of the day!! Isn't she pretty??

Sorry about the pic quality. My cam is out in the car and I didn't want to go out in the rain so I used my point and shoot. No custom white balance on that bad boy.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

More of the farmstead

The old house
I love this picture of the girls looking out over the same land their ancestors did

Cornerstone of the old barn

The Farmstead

The old barn ruins

I'm not sure what this was, we couldn't find an entrance but it has beautiful wood floors.

More barn ruins

The history of Shawn's family owning the place.
His great grandmother is the one who wrote the bottom part of this.

Shawn's great grandmother is in the middle. Her sisters are on either side of her.

Early this spring I blogged about Shawn's family's old farmstead. I had really wanted to get down there early and take some photos. I finally made it yesterday. The place is just beautiful and I can't wait to go back. It was such a long hike in but totally worth it. I would love to take photos of it this winter when the snow is new and beautiful but I have a serious aversion to cold so I don't think that will be happening. Here are a few shots that I took yesterday.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


The soldiers entering the auditorium.

Soldiers Creed

He is the third one to speak.

Saving My History

What an interesting, fun filled two weeks this has been. This post may make no sense but i'm not really writing this one for my readers. This one i'm writing for my own memories, you know, someday I may write a book and be like "hey I wish I could remember all the details of those two weeks". Yeah. Maybe.

My Mom came out to visit, she got lost in Mankato so I knew she would never make it to my actual house since you have to get off the main road and all. I was chatting with her on the phone asking her if she was coming down the hill yet when her phone went dead. The last thing I told her was that I was going up to the farm road to wait for her. I am sitting at the road waiting for her and there goes her car zooming by. I whip out, do some fancy driving to get behind them and start flashing my lights. I finally get them behind them and lead them to my house. I asked what they would have done if I hadn't found them. My nephew says keep driving until they saw a sign that said old farm road. I think they may have ended up in Canada before they found that road.

There is nothing like having your Mom come to your house and cook for you. She made my absolute favorite poor mans food, potato soup and dumplings then we made home made creamed corn. Yummy! She and Sky then made a bunch of loaves of zucchini bread for Shawn. Not my cup of tea but the kids liked it.

I took her and Bryon (nephew) to Minnesota's tourist trap also known as the Mall of America to do some school shopping for the kids. We shopped and shopped some more. Bry and Matt headed off on their own to do some looking around while the girls all headed to American Girl doll factory. The girls have wanted one of those dolls for ever and ever. I wanted one when I was a little girl. We walked around for ages (maybe 30 minutes) picking out their favorites. I walked over to Sky's favorite doll, picked her up off the shelf and handed Skylee the box. Her eyes got big, she squealed, got tears in her eyes and hugged me for all she was worth. Seeing her so happy of course made me get teary. It was an awesome mother/daughter moment. Hannah picked out her favorite, I cut off my arm and handed it over to the sales clerk and we were out the door to find the boys. I called and they said they were on the third floor at Journies. We were on the first floor so we located the escalators and up we went. We walked around a bit looking for the store when I decided to stop in my tracks and look down three floors. There sat Matthew on the first floor in the Journies store. Not 20 feet from where we were before we went up those 3 floors. I had a blast hollering his name and watching him look around trying to figure out where I was.

August 20th was family day at Fort Leonard Wood for the families of the young men and women graduating from basic training. We left Wednesday afternoon (the day before) on our million hour journey through Minnesota, Iowa and most of Missouri. It was long and rainy and tiring. Did I mention I hate riding in a car? Spent the night in Columbia before making our way to the base. Did I mention I had to drive through the Ozarks? They are beautiful but come on! Hills and curves. Yuck.
Arrived in the nearby town where we were staying to meet up with Shawn's parents before heading to the base. Lots of fun stuff happened there, like Shawn's step dad forgot to take his pistol out from under his seat before he left Tennessee and trying to find a place to put it before we went on base since no one could check into their hotel rooms that early.
We made it finally. On to the base and figuring out where to find our kids since the Army gave absolutely no details about the entire visit beyond the dates. Found the theater we were supposed to go to. Here I am thinking I would walk in, see my kid and that would be that. Wrong answer. We had to sit through and entire briefing, a military briefing. They are not short. The commander made jokes, I fidgeted and couldn't concentrate on anything more that seeing my kid already. Finally they wrap it up, tell us our kids will march up in front of the building, stand in formation then be released to us for the day. OMG! Finally they start coming around the corner and I just about lost my shit. One of those boys was mine. I was going to get my boy very soon. I couldn't handle it. The march in was mesmerizing. I have never actually seen a military march with cadence in real life and I was blown away. They were so disciplined and sharp. Maybe my boy wasn't in there after all. Finally they entered the parking lot, stood in formation. Forever. I think the drill sargents were torturing them. Like hey your mom is here but you can't go to her because we own your ass. Well they don't own my ass. Give me my damned kid already. You hear me mister man with the funny hat on? Finally they released them and I got my hands on him. I hugged that kid like I haven't since the day he was born. Finally he whispered in my ear something about okay Mom, that's enough. I let go, couldn't hog him to myself. He hugged everyone and we were off for family fun.
We went out for lunch and that kid didn't stop talking the entire time. I'm not even sure how he ate through all the talking. He told us all the details of his 10 week stay. I mean in detail. At one point he was talking, I looked over at him and saw this baby in a blue sweater jumper with a helicopter on the front in tiny white baby booties and had to wipe back a few tears. How did we get from this itty bitty baby to this well disciplined man? What happened to the years in between? Don't blink.
He took us to the Ft. Leonard Wood museum and to the px and the mini mall. We saw all the sites to see and went to dinner. On the drive there we saw a huge 5 vehicle crash on the interstate below us. It was awful and I don't know how anyone lived through it. 2 small cars went under a semi trailer. It was horrible looking. I was obsessed with finding information about those involved so when we got back I googled and found that although a teacher was seriously injured no one had died. I keep checking back to see if he pulled through, no news and I hope no news is good news. Anyway, ate dinner and met up with Jason (Shawn's so called father) before taking him back to base. The kid did not take any time off from his duties, he wrote the fire watch schedule on the ride back to the base. Good soldier.
I'm not really even sure I can properly convey what I felt the following day at graduation but I will try. We arrived at the theater (after getting lost) and waited in line for ages before the doors open. We ended up with awesome seats. We were on the aisle the boys walked down after getting pinned. Anyway, lots of speeches, the commander fumbling his entire speech then a really cool video of pics and video of the boys throughout their entire training, awards which made my heart burst right open with pride. There still may be pieces of blood, heart muscle and pride left in that auditorium. Not many of the boys won awards and my soldier won two!! Then came the soldiers creed and what was left of my heart entirely exploded from the pride, just a few soldiers were chosen and my son was so loud and serious I didn't even recognize his voice!! Oh I forgot to tell about the soldiers marching into the auditorium. It was amazing the drill sargents voice was so melodic and hypnotizing and all those soldiers voices in unison as one was captivating to say the least. I will never ever forget that moment watching their precise movements and hearing all those voices as one. The kids were all pinned with their US pin and shook the hands of all the higher ups and then were dismissed. I got my kid back!! I am telling you all those two days were the proudest days of my entire life for many reasons but to look at the kid I sent off to basic training in early June and see the man he turned into was amazing and I don't think I will ever forget the moment I stopped viewing him as a little boy. He went back to Wyoming with Grandma for a visit and called to let me know he got a tatoo. I was not in the least bit upset by that. He is a man now, he can make those decisions for himself. 3 months ago I wouldn't have though that way.
The drive back from Missouri was long but had Shawn drive for half the trip and took a few cat naps to shorten things up.
Sunday was Shawn's family reunion. I don't like going to those things at all because I only know a few people but it was fun to show the boy (he will always be my boy) off.
Monday, Mom, Bry and Ed left for Wyoming and Monday night my stupid fucking brother announced he left his family behind. I am pissed, beyond pissed at him, not because he split with his girl but because I am scared shitless that he walked out on his son and I will never see him again. I love my niece and nephews and always want to be a part of their lives.
Tuesday I started back to school. Yay! I love school.
Today I went to the doctor about my anxiety issues. The normal person has an anxiety level of less than 10 of 110 on a scale. A person with an 80 has severe anxiety. My score was a 99. I am a damned wreck. That really bothers me because I am happier than I have been in years. My marriage is mostly good, my son who has caused me so many headaches is growing up to be a fine young man, the little kids are doing well and I am in school studying a subject I love. I am genuinely happy so why am I having so much anxiety? I can't wait until it's all under control.
Did anyone make it through all that?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Good Kitty/Bad Kitty

Good kitty, snuggling with his teddy bear

Bad kitty on the counter where he isn't supposed to be.

See the yogurt container in the pic above?
It has his food in it, he kept scooping his paw in then looking to see if he got anything out.
I love this stupid cat. He never stops entertaining me.

Linus hasn't been the star of my blog for awhile now. He is famous amongst all 10 of you readers and I know you have been itching to see him in all his cuteness.
Thanks to my cousin Bob for the title of this post.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Frank's Story

As much as I tried to work this story out and figure out what I wanted to write it really isn't working for me. I cannot nail it down so I will give you the short version of the story so I don't leave you all hanging.

Frank was my ex's younger brother. He was a sweet guy who would have helped anyone out of they needed it. He loved country music and his prized possessions were his cowboy boots, hat and autograph from some musician who's name escapes me at the moment. He also dreamed of being a country singer and had a demo made. He had plans for his life. Plans that would lead him out of choking poverty and on to a life where he could be happy.
Frank and I had english class together in college, he always shared his notes with me and always gave me a ride home after class. He was a genuinely nice guy.
The morning of the 4th of July many years ago I walked into my ex's house and had him tell me Frank was dead. I was stunned. How did that happen I asked. He was hit by a train. I was floored. How in the hell was he hit by a train? The police said he laid down on the tracks, crossed his arms over his chest and waited. The engineer said just before the train struck him he popped his head up and looked at the train as it was barreling down the tracks toward him. On it's way to take it all away. Take what away though?
What a told you above are facts that I know to be true. Things that I was told first hand by those involved. What I am about to tell you are things my fuzzy brain sort of recalls all these years later. Things people in town speculated, etc.
Frank had a crush on a woman who was older than he. Well into her 30's. A woman who in my opinion was never really into him and mostly just used him. Anyway she moved in with another guy and broke his heart into a million pieces. That was the day he drank himself into oblivion and laid down on the tracks. Also he had discovered his brother had molested his sister years before, years before he was even born. This tore him up in a way he couldn't recover from. None of these things are a secret anymore. This was the summer a million little secrets came to light. The summer that changed everyone in ways that many still haven't recovered from. All the secrets and lies and cover ups and then the death.
Frank was working for a seamless gutter company. Apparently the day he died he bought his co-workers soda's. No suicide note, nothing. The only clue looking back were those soda's. That is why the police ruled his death a suicide. Those soda's that were given away. I don't know about you but I regularly buy my friends things. Soda's, lunch, a drink here and there.
After Frank died I spent days sitting on bar stools all over town questioning people who saw him that night, people who spoke to him, the bartenders and the wait staff. Everyone said the same thing. He was happy that night, drunk but happy. He left his car parked on main street and took off walking because he was drunk. What I will never know and never understand is what happened in those 4 short blocks. How did he go from drunk and happy and not wanting to hurt himself or anyone else by driving drunk to making the decision to say fuck it all and lie down on the tracks waiting for the train to take it all away.
I was told at the time to let it rest, just let it go but to this day I do not believe he voluntarily laid down on the tracks and killed himself. I refuse to believe it.

There ya have it. The short version that took me an hour to write. My brain really had to work to remember even that much.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Growing and Fixing

This past weekend I got a wild hair that said I was sick of having this piece of crap on my deck.

So I begged and pleaded and bargained with my husband......

to please fix this thing so it is useful again and doesn't end up at the scrap yard.

Isn't it pretty??

By the way dear readers...I haven't forgotten the story I promised. I am still working on how I want to write it. It will come, I really could use some quiet time around here to think and write. That may never happen.

Yesterday was my oldest child's birthday. 18. Can you even believe that? I certainly can't. It seems like yesterday I was missing out on one of my favorite movies (The Best Little Whore House In Texas) to take my sister to my aunt's so Mom and I could go to the hospital. It seems like yesterday I walked and walked and walked so labor would go faster. It seems like yesterday I squatted on all 4's trying to get that little man to turn so he could come out face down and stop making me have back labor. It seems like yesterday the doctor declared it was a boy and I declared "It's my Shawnie". Seems like yesterday the nurse swore I gave birth to a future line backer. (He is 5' 3" and weighs 120 now) It seems like just yesterday my life became so incredibly complicated and so full of joy at the same time. Seems just like yesterday I was a teenaged Mom. How did I become 34? How did he become and adult? Happy Birthday to my bullrider who has never been on a bull.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Story in the Making.

This afternoon while taking a shower I thought of someone I haven't thought of in years. It may seem strange but the memories were so overwhelmingly vivid that I feel like they were being poured into my head through the spray of the shower head. It's as if I was communicating with something that wasn't really talking to me but was in it's own way screaming at me. Why now? Why all these years later? I don't even know what to say about it. Who needs me to tell the story? Some details are vivid, most are fuzzy. Some names remain, most don't. All I know is while I was standing in the shower I kept repeating the mantra in my head "I must tell this story, I must tell this story".
I hurriedly got out and dressed so I could make a mad dash for the computer and google any info that may be out there. News paper articles, obituaries. Anything. Nothing much came up. One reference stating a birth and death date. Another search returned an article written by his best friend. I looked at the picture of the author and I could see this guy in my memory. I know him, I can make out his mannerisms. I can recall conversations with him. I remember speaking to him the day after he died and asking him questions. I cannot remember his name. I shot off an email to some old high school friends begging for info on him and went outside to smoke. I looked up to the sky and said help me, I need to tell this story. A name popped into my head. Scott. Can this guys name be Scott? I don't know. I'm hoping the girls get back to me and confirm who he is. In the meantime I will work on the story that is begging to be told. Frank's story. I don't know where it will go or if my suspicions on how he died will ever work it's way in but I will tell what I can recall and hope the rest comes to me someway, somehow. Stay tuned.

Unrelated but devastating for us as state......Today is the 2 year anniversary of the collapse of the St. Anthony's Falls bridge. Praying for and thinking of the victims and survivors.

UPDATE: Just received confirmation that the friend's name is indeed Scott. Now to get in touch with him.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It's my party......

I have so much stuff I want to do, need to do but this cold is kicking my ass and I have exactly enough energy to clean the kitchen before I have to sit down, hack my brains out and try and recover from 30 minutes of very little activity beyond standing at the sink washing dishes. (run on sentence from hell).
My Mom will be here in a few weeks and between school all summer and this cold my house is a wreck and nothing has been done. Shawn and I got the wild hair early this spring to rip the railing off our decks and redo it all which also called for re staining and repainting the entire thing. We still aren't completely done yet but done enough that I am ready to start putting the deck back together. In normal summers we spend the bulk of our time hanging out on one of the decks, not one summer evening has been spent out there yet. I don't even know where all the furniture for out there is right now. Oh and the first summer we spent in this house Shawn bought me a lovely swing for the deck. This year the material has decided to shred into a million pieces. I have a grand plan to rebuild the seat and back of the swing with wood to make it useable for years to come. Guess who has no energy to even go to the lumber yard?
I have also decided that although a month ago moving the desk and my pc down to my dungeon of a bedroom was a fabulous idea so I would have quiet to get my homework done I no longer enjoy being down there. I don't need the quiet any more but I do need my computer since my laptop decided to die. Now I want to move the desk back upstairs amongst the living. Problem is I have no idea where to put it. I gave the kid his room back that was designated as office space while he was in Wyoming. We have a huge sticky, uncomfortable leather sectional in the living room that takes up to much room so the desk won't fit in there and the absolute perfect place for the desk in the dining room is an inch to short. Ugh.
The girls have spent nearly 5 days cleaning and organizing their room so it can be painted before Grandma comes. It is that time of year for the carpets to be cleaned too. I need a personal banker people!
Can any of you see the dilemna here? Too much stuff to do and too damn sick to get any of it done.
Yep, it's my party and I am alone in the corner blubbering like a fool.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Praying for Stellan

Prayers for Stellan

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pretty Bird, Pretty Bird

I am in the love with the call of the loon.
There is nothing more soothing to the soul than to hear that sound and feel absolute peacefulness come over you.
Wonder where he is carrying that to?

A very dirty headed juvenile eagle. When we first saw him I declared him to be juvie because of his head. Someone asked how I could tell. Dude it's the lens. I can see Russia from my back yard with this lens.

Hello there birdie. Please don't peck my eyeballs out. Wait you aren't really that close are you?

All of these pics and many more were taken last weekend in Wisconsin. I will share more once I start feeling a bit better. Still down with the cold. Ugh.
Sorry the quality of the photos isn't better, they really need editing since we were on a rocking boat and that lens is heavy and I wasn't using a tripod.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Think, breathe, delete.

I did what I have never done in my life. Censored myself and deleted a blog entry. I am very sorry to the person I offended and the post has been removed. I now return my regular readers to their regularly scheduled programming. Peace.

RTD IV left me needing and IV drip

Last weekend was our annual excursion to Wisconsin. Although it was fun at times it will go down as the worse year ever and may be the year that causes me to never go back.
Before we left I had to hurry and find a sitter for our kids since the neighbor decided to lose her mind and go completely insane. That was just the beginning.
On the drive up Cat's boyfriend started feeling crappy, it was a downright cold 50 some degrees the first two days which lead to a 2 day bar tour which isn't really my scene anymore. I am too friggin' old to spend two entire days drinking. Who in the hell would have ever thought I would say that? I woke up in the grips of the mother lode of anxiety attacks one night which lasted for 2 solid hours and basically ruined the trip for me. I just could not shake that icky feeling. Come home and immediately fall ill with Jeremy's cold. I have been down all week now and haven't left my room unless forced to do so. I seriously think I may never leave my house again just so I don't contract another cold from hell like this one.
Anyway, the good part about the trip is I managed to shoot 6 separate eagles. Hold up feds, by shooting eagles I mean capturing their image on a digital sensor, not shooting them as in harming them. I got one loon pic, those little rascals are hard to capture. Some crane photos and some other stuff. I still need to copy them and resize them before I can share with you and to be honest I have been sitting at my computer for a little over 30 minutes and I am beyond exhausted and don't have the energy to do it right now so I will get them to you later.
I just reread this post and decided it sucks and needs some details but I am publishing it anyways. Sorry peeps.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A few more from the weekend.

Matt's cake

This is what happens when you hand the husband the camera

Oh look! I do have a head!

Matt with all his loot. His parents spoil the hell out of him!

Yesterday in addition to it being Matt's birthday it was also Sky's fun day for softball. Mom's against Daughter's. It ended in a tie game. How did that happen?? I hear the Mom's acting skills on the field are sub par. Hopefully they went over the heads of a bunch of 9 year olds.
Saturday we took the kids to the circus. Those pics will come this week. They all need edited to death before they can appear in public. Someone needs a class in taking arena pics!

And then he was 12

Yesterday Matthew turned 12. Holy buckets! One more year and I will have 2 teenaged boys. Heaven help me! Happy Birthday Chew!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fireworks Tutorial

A few people have asked how I shot the fireworks and what settings to use. Well if I gave you all the exact settings I used your shots wouldn't turn out the same as mine because the conditions you are shooting in won't be the conditions I shot in. Believe it or not it was very well lit when I took the photos but the sky appears pitch black in the background.
We also spent an hour in class discussing how to do fireworks and lightning shots. I have the understanding of why I used the settings I used. This is a quick blurb but should give you a good jump off point. Remember the smaller the aperture you use the less light that is entering the lens and set your ISO low to eliminate noise. Happy shooting!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


For you my friends. I give you some photos I took over the long weekend.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Yesterday was my last day of math class!! I didn't pull off the A I was shooting for but I did score a B!! Can't complain about a B! I am so happy to have it over with.
The babysitter situation turned out fantastic. She is going to sit for us again for sure.
Yesterday I had my math final and then a test in my Intro class so I got home early and headed to Sky's softball game. They won, again. On the way home we saw this little beauty in the field and just had to pull over and take a few shots. Keep in mind I maxed out my 300 mm lens and she still didn't fill the frame so she was a long ways away. I also didn't want to pull out my tripod so these shots are a bit shaky. I think they turned out decent though. Click to enlarge for the full effect.

I also got a letter from the boy yesterday. He is adjusting well and wants Mom to send him lots of pictures to occupy his time and make him smile. His graduation is in August and I told my Mom that the second I see him in his dress uniform I am going to burst into tears. I can't wait to get my arms around my oldest baby again. We have been through some shit but he will always be my first baby and my pride and joy!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Walking in the shadows of the past

Because i'm generally a curious person and because I have my own interests to look after I googled my ex's name today. Since he is ordered to be a registered sex offender his name popped up along with a recent picture.
It made me sad. The guy I knew was cute and had sparkling blue eyes that always had a bit of laughter and mischief in them. The guy I saw today was old and hard with dead eyes.
It really bothers me that two people can travel the same path for so long and end up in entirely different places in life. One person chooses a path that leads them to a full life with a bright future and one person chooses the path that leads them to prison and little to no future. That saddens me. I firmly believe that we are all put on this planet with almost an even start with a few exceptions and it is our job to be what we can be and do what we can to contribute to this place while we are here.
Most people who know me know that I rarely if ever take a look back into the past. It just isn't me, I'm not programmed to think that way. If I were I would be balled up in the corner in the fetal position rocking myself. So, I don't look back and try to only look forward.
Today I looked back and it made me so sad.
I have no idea where I really want to go with this, maybe its just to make myself feel better. Maybe its to mark on a calendar how far I have come in the last decade and a half. All I know is that when someone looks at a picture of me they don't see someone who looks dead on the inside, I hope they see joy and life and because i'm me I also want to say.....
You may have held me down briefly but you never held me back. Because of you I found strength in myself I never knew I had. Because of you I found a fierce need to protect myself and those I love. Because of you I learned about life and the kind of person I want to be.
Look at me now mother fucker, look at me now.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Rammble, ramble, shoot.

How in the world do people keep up with a blog if they work or GO TO SCHOOL?? I can't do more than one thing at a time. If I'm at home I am either buried in homework or have a kid hanging off me whining that they need something or they just want to cuddle. (Insert scream here)

Anyway, I have gotten a few letters from the boy. He is super homesick. Awww. Oh did I tell you all he shipped for basic training? Can't remember.

Life is marching on here. The only photos I have shot lately are for school. Good thing my family is willing to pose for me. I wrote all of this so I can show you this pic I took of the hubby. I love this picture!

Speaking of hubby, he had a great fathers day. Totally pampered. We got him a lawn sweeper and a couple of saws. The kids made stuff for him too. Awww!

I spent all of Saturday doing yard work, shooting photos and staining the deck. Okay, I am obviously exhausted. This post sucks. Peace!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Strawberry Wine....17

There is nothing like red stained fingers on a hot summer evening and come January I will look back at this post and daydream.

Guess the song the title comes from.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Canines Give This Post Two Paws Up

Last night Shawn, Skylee and I watched Marley and Me. It was hands down the saddest movie I have ever seen. Sadder than Old Yeller and Where the Red Fern grows combined.

I think you have to have lost a dog that you had since puppy hood or have a really old dog to feel the full power of this movie. I have experienced both.

Sammy came to live with us when I was a little girl. We had him for years, gave him away, took him back and had him for the rest of his life span. Sammy was a sweet and naughty little cocker spaniel and I adored him but Sammy isn't the reason this movie hit me so hard. The dogs I have now are.

Shawn owned Deeogee when I met him. He was a cute, obnoxious, vicious, year and a half old puppy when I came into his life. He bit me, my nephew and a day care kid before I finally consulted the vet who's advise was to have him neutered, and neuter him we did. He turned into a whole new dog, sweet and lovable and completely loyal.

Since the day I met him he has had an old soul. He seems so wise and not at all dog like. Everyone who has ever met him has fell instantly in love with his attitude.

Last night I got to thinking after watching the movie all the changes he has seen in is life. From being a bachelors dog who traveled the country and lived in motel rooms to a family dog, protector of 6.

First I was introduced to him, then a young boy and a baby boy. 2 baby girls, 4 houses and 2 states. A few other dog friends and a bunch of cat friends. He has seen every thing since day 1 of our relationship.

In our first house late at night, Shawn was working out of town and someone tried to break in. Dee has the bark of a big dog and alerted me to someone at the window. He scared the person off and possibly saved our lives. From that night on I owed him a debt I will never be able to repay him.

Clara came to live with us as a tiny 5 week old puppy who cried all night long. We spent the first week with her taking turns sleeping with our hands draped over the edge of the bed, stuck inside her kennel to keep her from crying all night. Life with her in the beginning was very much like life with a new baby and she was a very naughty new baby. She whined and barked, chewed on everything, ate walls and the kids toys. Ran away every chance she could and caused a lot of stress between the next door neighbor and us. I'll admit more time than not I hated that dog with every fiber of my being and wanted rid of her. I hated all her bad habits and her fur all over my house. Then last spring we nearly lost her to a bad infection and she and I have been inseparable since.

Although she is only 5 and a half we believe she is near the end of her life. She injured her front shoulder the fall before last and hasn't been right since. She also has rear hip dysplasia but she has all the heart of a puppy and we have to monitor her exercise so she doesn't over exert herself and cause herself more pain.

That is the reason the movie got to me so badly. (Well that and I am a crier at movies, tv shows and even commericals). We have two dogs nearing the end of their lives so when I was watching the movie I wasn't seeing Marley lying under the tree or on the vets table. I was looking at my own two canine children and thinking of what it will do to our family when it is time to make the hardest decision a doggy parent will ever have to make. A decision I wish I never have to make.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Heartfelt Thanks!

I have to say I have the best readers, friends and Mom in the whole wide world!! Your words of encouragement have been much needed and much appreciated this week. I made it through the first two days without having a break down and have made it to all of my classes without deciding to just drop out. Thanks everyone!!

I took my first math quiz yesterday and aced it! This morning I finished my first Intro to Professional Photography project, I am on a roll! I don't know if Julie reads or not but I have to say, if it weren't for her having the most beautiful flowers in the neighborhood I would have had a hard time finishing my project. So, thanks Julie!!

In other news...the cat learned nothing. I found him in the ice house again a few days ago. Cat says he is suicidal, I have to agree.
The kids last day of school is tomorrow. Bring the crazy on!!

That's about it for today. Must rush off and finish my math homework. Peace!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

In Over My Head?

Day one was daunting to say the least. I almost had a panic attack on the drive home, wondering if I will make it. Apparently summer semester isn't the time to load up on classes due to the short span of time you have to learn everything.
According to my math teacher one shouldn't take her class if they are taking any others. She predicts 3 hours of homework a day. Something about getting through the whole book in 4 weeks instead of the 4 months students have during a normal semester. Well shit, I am a mathtard. I threw my pen across the room at least twice last night while trying to do 3 chapters worth of homework.
My Intro to Pro Photog instructor warned me that since I am in his class and the Ambient Lighting class I should expect to live at the school. Shit!
I never thought taking photos would be so daunting. I have 24 photos shot at ISO 200 due tomorrow and it is super cloudy here today. I need light for those photos! I also have to read 2 chapters of my photography text book and be ready to discuss by tomorrow evening, the thing is the book is so boring I am having a hard time reading it. I don't particularly care about ISO and F-stops. Yaaaawn.

Last night I whined on facebook about how I am going to get this whole school thing accomplished without flunking out and still have time to be a Mom and wife, maid and cook around here. I got a whole lot of quityourbitchin's. I wanna bitch!! Its my blog and I'll cry if I want to! I know I can do it I just don't want my kids to feel neglected, they are after all the reason I put this off for so long!
Okay, complaining over. Must go read the most boring textbook ever but hey, at least it has pictures to look at!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

First Day

Today is the big day! I go from being a stay at home Mom to a college student...again. This time I don't plan on having any more babies to put my school days on hold. I am neither really excited or really nervous. I just am....bleh. I blame all the work I did on the deck and in the yard for my blahness. My legs are so sore I can barely walk. I am dreading walking around campus. Maybe I can borrow a wheelchair? Oh and just a note to everyone, if you buy yourself fitflops do not, I repeat, do not try them out the day you will be bending and stooping and lifting and squatting all day. You have no idea if the fitflops actually work or the pain comes from the increased activity.
I love this picture of Matt taken on our camping trip. The sparklers make some cool effects!

Friday, May 29, 2009


This is what happens when you give Skylee s'mores!

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I am Mom to 4 of the most kick ass kids ever! I learn shenanigans from them every day.



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