Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wednesday August 31: Portraits

While at the wedding rehearsal last night, when there was down time, I took some pics of Jared for his senior portraits. This was my fav:

We picked up Josh, Karen, and Aiden to take along with us to the rehearsal. Just before our van pulled in, I saw Aiden dart over to a dandelion wishing flower, pick it, and start blowing it. By the time this pic was taken, the last of the fluff was blown off, but he was still blowing anyway:

Today is going to be full of cleaning, schooling, and getting the last minute things done for the wedding. I wish that it was a day for napping though.... But, Saturday is The Big Day, so no time to rest!

Have a great day!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Hunger Games Review

I just finished The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. What a ride! She is a excellent storyteller and the book is really well written. The subject matter, however, is super dark, so I definitely wouldn't recommend it to young teens (though my 11 yo son has read it and LOVES it - and no, he isn't an aggressive, bloodthirsty boy, just a good boy who enjoys a well written story.) I would compare the story itself to a futuristic society's bread and circuses much like those of the ancient Roman Colosseum; the difference being that in ancient Rome, spectators would have to be in the Colosseum to view the brutality, while in The Hunger Games, the games were watched on tv. The setting is a futuristic country with a government trying to keep its subjects under their thumb. A few years back, people tried to revolt; the government won, and now has the yearly hunger games to remind people that they don't stand a chance in a revolution.

SPOILER ALERT!! (don't read past here if you haven't read the book and want to w/o knowing the story and the ending)

The book impressed me on a lot of different levels. First, it is grammatically correct, which is a rarity. Secondly, it is very well written: it is easy to understand the flow of the book, it's very suspenseful and entertaining, and Collins pulls off politics in a way that will make people think. There are little subtleties in the book that really build the character development, like with their district's representative in the games, Effie, making snide comments about how barbaric some of the contestant's manners have been at the dinner table and Catniss thinking that it is ironic that Effie is worried about barbaric table manners when Effie herself yearly sends two young people to their deaths in these brutal hunger games.

I grew to like the main character, Catniss, and I can relate well to her. She won't ever back down, but doesn't go looking for trouble either. She is cynical and looks for others' motives. She feels such a sense of responsibility to the people in her District. She is driven by duty. She loves deeply and fiercely, but holds people at arms length until they prove themselves to her.

Steve reminds me of Peeta, which is interesting, because I think the author had Peeta's character be in total contrast to Catniss's. His love comes freely and easily toward Catniss, having loved her since he saw her the first day of school when he was 5. He is easy to get along with, and seems to always say and do the right things to make friends easily. Though we only get to know Peeta through Catniss's eyes, he seems to be able to seem sincere to everyone, even when he is secretly protecting Catniss by having alliances with their enemies.

Through Peeta and Catniss's reactions to other contestants of the hunger games, Collins builds their characters: Catniss is a survivor, she doesn't believe in the hunger games, nor does she want to be there, she isn't bloodthirsty and only kills in defense or for mercy. Peeta is loyal, sincere, has integrity, and is an all around boy scout.

I'm looking forward to reading Catching Fire, the next book in the series.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

No more monkeys jumpin' on the bed!

Okay, it is really more like, "No more monkey's jumpin' off the couch onto the mattress in front of the couch" but it sounds better the other way! And I really shouldn't have encouraged him to keep doing it.... but the pics I got were so cute! (And the end really does justifies the means, right?! ;)

Have a bed-jumpin' fun day! :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Summer Day Blessing

May your day be filled with all of the beauty of summertime :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Wanna hear a joke? - Friday August 19th

All from
Birthday Roses
The young man ahead of my father at the flower shop was taking an unusually long time to place his order. When the clerk asked how she could help, he explained that his girlfriend was turning nineteen and he couldn't decide whether to give her a dozen roses or nineteen roses -- one for each year of her life.

The woman put aside her business judgment and advised, "She may be your nineteen-year-old girlfriend now, but someday she could be your fifty-year-old wife."

The young man bought a dozen roses.
Received from Becky Day

Fact of Life
A boy, frustrated with all the rules he had to follow, asked his father, "Dad, how soon will I be old enough to do as I please?"

The father answered immediately, "I just don't know, son. No male has ever lived that long yet."

Received from Thomas Ellsworth.

Advice to an old guy

An old guy was working out in the gym when he spotted an attractive young lady.

He asked a nearby trainer, "What machine should I use to impress that lady over there?"

The trainer looked him up and down and said, "I would try the ATM in the lobby."

Received from Tina Gardner.
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Last night in photography class my picture won the most votes when the class was asked to choose their favorite 4 pics (we each turned in 4 and voted for 4) YAY!

This was the winner:

I have sent it and the Cowboy Roundup to the printers this morning - 11 x 14, 4 x 6, & 5 x 10. I should have them both on etsy for sale next week. :)

Have a fun and safe weekend!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

More pics fro the weekend - Aug 16

Today is going to be another busy day... so I'm going to leave you with more pics from the weekend:

I love the mountains! There are very few more peaceful places on earth.

Today we are getting ready for back to school tomorrow... wish us luck! :)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

What I'm learning about death

Over the past two weeks of dealing with my mom's death, I've gained some insight that I only knew on an intellectual level before.

My dad told me that no matter how much I thought I was prepared for my mom dying, I wouldn't really ever be ready. I thought it was good advice then, but now, I see it as nothing less than pure truth.

My mom scared us back in July of 2009 with her ischemic bowel incident. At that time, I wrote her a letter telling her thank you for all that she did for me and to tell her how much I loved her. Since then, I have tried my hardest to put things in order with her so that when the time really came I wouldn't have deep regrets.

As the past two years have seen her in and out of the hospital, each time I've wondered if "this was it". I've tried to prepare myself that it might be, but hope that it wasn't, and then be pushy enough with the docs to make sure she got the best care possible. She always did, and at the end of each hospital visit, she got to go "home", whether it be to her apartment or nursing home.

So when my brother called me that Saturday morning two weeks ago, I thought it was another false alarm. He told me that mom didn't look well, but that he didn't want me to panic... so I took a shower & went to the nursing home.

Let me back up for just a minute and tell you that all of us 4 kids went to look at funeral arrangements just the day before, since my brother was here from ND visiting our mom because she wasn't doing super well; her vitals were fine, but she had a hard time with her breathing and she was starting to be confused off and on. We knew that mom would be around for awhile more, but we didn't want to be preparing in the midst of emotionally charged circumstances, like when she had already died. So we picked out the casket and took a brochure that we could discuss later at our leisure....

When I walked into the nursing home, I had no idea what to expect, but what I found scared the crap out of me and sent me reeling emotionally....

Though her eyes were open, I didn't think she was seeing anything. I felt that she was unconscious, and I prayed that she was. My brother had been there for awhile and had sung to her, stroked her hair, and tried to soothe her; when I got in, I too tried to soothe her, but I wasn't sure if she was conscious or unconscious. Then my "gotta do something" kicked in.

I talked to a nurse who'd been a nursing home nurse for 7 years and had seen death many times. She told me that my mom was in the final stages of death. She told me what we could expect. We kids and my mom's nurse were trying to get her some liquid morphine or a shot of morphine so that we could be sure she wasn't afraid or hurting; since it was a Saturday, it was difficult to contact the doctor. The nurse said that once she got the morphine, because it would slow her heart rate, she would probably pass away within a few hours. There was no way we couldn't give her the meds, so they were administered.

Within less than 10 minutes after giving the meds, my mom passed away. It was surprising that with the ache of her being gone there was also the relief of knowing that she wasn't suffering anymore.

Most of us stayed for many hours later, waiting for the mortician to come and pick her up. We visited with each other, telling stories about my mom and about our childhoods. We laughed and we cried. After the mortician came, we planned her funeral.

The next morning, I woke up and wanted to hear her voice, so I listened to the voice mail messages that she left and I'd saved just for this very moment. The tears flowed as I heard her say "Hi Kiddo" again and even sing Happy Birthday to Amber. I listened over and over.

In the following days, something happened: I began to be afraid of the emotions. I became worried that I'd become depressed like I was after her ischemic bowel scare.

I was alone for 10 minutes in Kmart a couple of days ago, and because I was alone with no agenda, my mind roamed free. I cut the trip short after only being able to think about her and all of the things that she'd bought for me and my kids in that Kmart.

Last night, I wanted to hear her voice. I looked at the phone and then pushed it away. Then, I gathered all of my courage and dialed my voicemail. I listened and smiled. My eyes welled and overflowed, but it was a good feeling. It was like facing the monster under the bed and realizing it isn't nearly as big and mean as I'd thought, in fact, it was more like finding a friendly puppy under there than a monster.

My goal is to be less afraid. To let myself feel without wallowing in despair. I worry that it will be a tightrope walk....

I have been so busy with the wedding and with school preparations that I haven't had time to be still very often. In the back of my mind I worry about what having no huge project to plan and work on will cause; I'm trying to be brave. I wish I could talk to her about it and ask her opinion of how to cope....

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Just an update - August 11

So we didn't end up picking it up after all. :( The alterations person had taken in a part that wasn't supposed to be taken in, so it didn't fit. We'll go again on Saturday....

Today we have PT for Michael, registration for Matt, and a camera class for me. Busy, busy, busy again.

For last night's photo assignment, we have to take a shallow depth of field portrait and a candid/unposed pic, so you'll be seeing some of those soon.

Gotta run. Therapy's in an hour!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

We're picking up the wedding dress today

We're picking it up today....

Next up on the TO DO list: Bridal Portraits

Tonight is also my photography class. I chose to turn in these two pics depicting depth of field:

Have a great day!