Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Child's Mind

I recently saw a similar idea in Pinterest, and was very happy to see my mother-in-law had done this for Christmas. She asked each of the grand kids questions about their parents and then wrote them up as a gift. I think I might start doing this regularly with Will because I thought it was so funny. So according to Will, answers about me and Pat.

~What's mom's favorite food: tortillas and tacos with tomatoes
Dad's: ramen
(I do really like tacos, but I'm surprised even Will wouldn't say hamburgers for Pat)

~Where was mom born: Germany
Dad: Florida
(the funny thing about this one is that Pat's older sister was born in Germany and his younger sister was born in Florida. I was born in California and Pat was born in Massachusetts.)

~Favorite ice cream, mom: Vanilla
Dad: Chocolate
(not my favorite, I need stuff in my ice cream, but he did get Pat right)

~Favorite place to go, mom: Where Aunt B lives
Dad: England
(well I do enjoy that, although my dream is his answer for Pat)

~Favorite vegetable, mom: mom likes all kinds of vegetables
Dad: cherry tomatoes
(pretty close on that one)

~Favorite movie, mom: Don't know any movie she likes
Dad: Star Wars

~Does mom have a nickname: No (I really don't)
Dad: the kids in my class call him Pat (totally made me laugh)

~Pool, ocean or lake, mom: Ocean (definitely not)
Dad: pool

~Favorite snack, mom: tortillas
Dad: ramen
(apparently there isn't a lot of variety in our lives)

~How much does mom spend on food/week, mom: $20 (I wish!)

~How much does mom's car cost? $200 + $1,000
(well that's just more than what I owe on my car...)

~How many flashlights are in mom's house: 1 or 2 or 3 or 4
Dad: 5

~Best gift mom & dad ever got from Santa: They never told me what they got from Santa
(I have rectified this)

~Favorite toy as a kid, mom: paper dolls
Dad: action figures

Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Wrap Up

One of the things about being so "involved" on Facebook is that sometimes I feel like there is no point in having a blog, because I can just post stuff there. So this ends up being a repeat for most people. Oh well. If Facebook ever goes the way of Myspace, I guess I still have this history.

Christmas is over and done with, although those things I needed to mail but didn't want to stress about so said they would be New Year gifts, guess they still need to be done. Overall Christmas was very good except for the fact that I got a 24 stomach bug and was sick all of Christmas day.

Maiken and Britta and I all made my dad Monte a set of the 12 Days of Christmas ornaments that we had previously made our mom. He's been revealing them online one at a time though, so I feel like I should do a separate post later to highlight some of those. I get Will an ornament each year and the last few years have tried to make one. With the exception of two years, they have always been related to his Halloween costume that year. So I was already planning on making him a royal guard when he saw me working on the ones for Monte and asked if I'd make him a royal guard. I will say the shirt took me way too many patterns, but I was happy with how it turned out.

On Christmas Eve we had new visitors this year, Santa, Mrs. Claus, a reindeer and Buddy the Elf thanks to some cousins and a friend. They were all really cute and I think the adults enjoyed the laughs as much as the kids did.

Will promptly told me this wasn't the real Santa because he met the real Santa at school. But I loved the look in his eye of curiosity that they knew his name and one of the presents on his list.

I may have been up a little too late last night having fun on Facebook. I'd realized that I hadn't gotten any pictures of Will in the beret he asked for, honestly it was lucky I got any photos taken on Christmas with the way I was feeling. So I asked Will if he'd put on the beret and a scarf I made him. While taking some photos he kept asking if the shirt he was wearing was French and if someone French would wear it. They like Lego Star Wars in France right? Sensing he didn't feel the ensemble, I went searching for a different shirt. Not finding anything I told him he should put on his coat. I will say this is probably my favorite photo of Will from the whole year. Well minus the one from the colors festival.

This led to a FB discussion about him needing a mustache to complete the look. He wouldn't let me draw one on, but said I could do a paper one. Man I love this kid.

I hope everyone had a good holiday and wish everyone the best as we begin a new year!

Monday, December 19, 2011


In case you didn't notice, I haven't been in a blogging mood. Honestly I haven't been in a much of anything mood. The time/weather change sucks. It takes away two things that honestly really helped me get through the last year, hiking and photography. I really miss being able to go for hikes after work. Not only does it give me a form of exercise I don't dread, but being out in nature is something I need to refresh my mind and soul. The last two months have been hard for me and I haven't found a good replacement.

(I have started going to Zumba with my cousin, which is a good fill in for the exercise part. And it would be more so if I ever get past the part where I mostly just stand there and go, oh wait, what was that, or we're moving on, wait how did you do...oh ok new thing...wait....this is hard)

As for photography, the only thing I really enjoy taking photos of is nature stuff. And yeah nature stuff still exists during winter. But it's all cold. And there is snow. And it gets dark early. And yeah. So instead my recliner and I have gotten to be better friends. And then I was going through my photos from the last year and realized, I don't really have that many that I'm truly happy with. I know that just means I need to practice more, but it was a bit discouraging.

A few months ago my cousin Katy passed along a thank you card she got from someone where they had printed a photo of theirs and attached it to a blank card. She suggested I should do something similar with some of my photos. I thought it was a great idea for a personalized Christmas card. And like most things, that I idea did not exactly go as planned.

I wanted to wait until their was snow on the ground to get a "winter" picture. But that created a situation of wanting to get a picture up high enough in the canyon to have snow on the ground, but timing that with the closing of canyons, finding a setting I like, and actually getting a photo I was happy with. Well what I ended up with was one last shot to get a photo, I either got it on that day, or I went to the store and bought cards.

There is a cool place up Payson Canyon called the Pine Forest. I hadn't been there since we had first moved to Utah 24 years ago (holy crap that just made me feel old!), but from what I remembered, I thought it had the possibility of a good photo. I got some directions and headed up there. I later realized what I thought might be the trail head was, but I doubted it and went a different direction following some tracks in the snow. Those tracks did eventually get me to the Pine Forest, but only after a 45 minute hike uphill, through snow, in uncomfortable boots. I spent at least 5 minutes just standing at a fork in the trail debating just turning around, but I'm glad I kept going and got there.

Anyone local that hasn't been up there, should go. It's such a peaceful, serene place. And I needed the time alone up there. Luckily on the way back I saw what I figured might be the real trail and was able to take the much easier, 15 minute way back. I have to say that on my 1" preview screen on my camera, the photos were much cooler looking. But I got something to use for a card, so not a waste.

Luckily I did get that one task completed, because 2 days later a wicked cold took over and claimed all of last week. Oh you don't feel like you will be able to get everything done for Christmas in the next two weeks? Ok, how about I just take away one of those weeks. Good luck! Thanks Universe. So some people are getting New Years presents instead.

(re-reading that, I'm not really as down as that all sounds, well maybe, but that's Christmas for ya.) Merry Christmas to all.

Friday, November 18, 2011

For Zen

It's been a rough few days. My family's dog Zen was killed by a car on Wednesday. The amount of heartache I have felt makes me want to go back to all my friends and family that have lost dogs and tell them I understand so much more now, and I want to tell them I'm sorry all over again. We had pets all growing up so I felt like I was familiar with the pain of losing one. And I can't say I always handled it the best (don't ask my sisters about the guinea pig), but a dog is just...different. I also haven't had a pet I was really close to pass away since I was a kid. Maybe it hits harder as an adult.

I know everyone says it about their dog, but Zen really was the best dog ever. He was very obedient, never jumped on people, never destroyed things (except for that one time when light was shining on the couch, but humans have a bit of blame there.) He wasn't an obnoxious barker, he wasn't overly needy. He wanted to be near you, but would just lay nearby. He was obsessed with chewing on plastic bottles and loved to play tug, chase bubbles and try and catch the grass shooting out from the lawn mower.

He got scared by loud noises or people fighting and he would try and climb up into your lap, even though he was really too big. The back of the couch was his favorite place to be, keeping an eye on the neighborhood and letting you know if any of his friends were wandering nearby.

I left work on Wednesday after getting the call from my sister and I'm glad I did. I was able to sit on the grass next to Zen and stoke his still warm body and say goodbye. I helped lay him to rest in between the apple trees in my parents back yard.

I know time heals and already I start to feel better. And then I drive by someone with their dog and the tears start again. You were loved and adored Zen and will be greatly missed. I take comfort that you don't have to suffer from heart and eye problems anymore. But I'm selfish and I want you back. I told Will today that he needed to let me know what he wanted for Christmas soon. He said, the only thing I really want is Zen back. Me too bud, me too.

And whenever I'm feeling sad, I'll remember him in his doggles.

Rest in peace Zenner bean

Friday, October 28, 2011

Foto Friday

If you know me well, you know how much I love dressing up for Halloween. And making costumes. Well, the finished costumes I like, I can't say sewing doesn't come without lots of frustration and swearing. This year I was really excited when Will said he wanted to be a Royal Guard for Halloween. I was a bit surprised, but also happy that some of my love for England seemed to be rubbing off on him. Someone asked him why he picked a Royal Guard and he said that it was because he loved Britland. Guess we need to work on a few of the details.

I'm really happy with how the costume turned out. I will say next to the mouse I made when he was first born, it's my favorite costume I've made him. He got a lot of compliments at the carnival we went to and that helps make it worth the work. But the real satisfaction was when Will first put it on and seeing him pose in the mirror and then telling me he thought it was awesome.

He doesn't look happy in these, but it's just him being in character. He took that part very seriously.

My dad did get him to crack for just a second

Lucia made a great vampire

This picture sums up so much about these two

Happy Halloween everyone!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Foto Friday

So many pictures were taken this week! I apologize to those who are friends on FB and already seen most of these. On Sunday Will and I took a drive up to Aspen Grove. And apparently half of Utah County also had the same idea. The road up there is incredibly small and winding which means when there are 100's of cars on the road, it's a bit scary and not exactly the peaceful drive I was hoping for. But I did manage to get a few pictures of my favorite trees, the aspens.

For those not familiar with Utah's bi-polar weather, it was 90 less than 2 weeks before this. And now 6 days later it was mid 70's. You learn that just because you had to take out your sweaters, doesn't mean you should put away your shorts.

On Tuesday Will had his first school field trip so I took the day off and Pat and I tagged along. First stop was a huge nursery to visit a pumpkin patch.

There were about 65 kids, plus around 15 adults. They were loading people up onto a hay ride, which I thought was just going to go around the nursery. It was really full and multiple trips were going to be needed, so on the first group with Will I decided not to get on because I didn't want to take a seat from a kid. Another dad decided the same thing and stayed behind. After they had been gone a few minutes I started looking at the sign by the loading platform and noticed it said Hay Ride to the Pumpkin Patch. I pointed it out to the other dad and we decided we had probably unknowingly just missed the ride out to pick out pumpkins. We debated trying to walk and find them but decided since there were still more kids we would catch the next trip out. And as we had figured out on the way, our kids were done picking out their pumpkins by the time we got there and ready to head back. So here they are pumpkins picked out.

Next stop a park for lunch and then on to a grocery store for a tour. I'm not really sure the manager was expecting the size crowd we had and after awhile it pretty much just turned to a chaotic group running through the store. At which time Will got tripped and smacked face first into the ground and got a bloody nose. I figured with that many kids at some point during the day some kid was going to be crying, just didn't figure it would be mine. It was a fun day though and I'm glad I got to go.

Wednesday night I went to watch two of my co-workers play in their flag football division championships, which they won. I was glad I got to see them play and it was hilarious how excited these men got. Just takes a sports win to take them back to the excitement of 8 year olds.

Today I went for a hike up to Stewart Falls. Last fall when my dad Monte was visiting, we all went up but had the advantage of a special shortcut. I haven't been on the full hike since I was about 6. And the only memory I have of that was that on the way back my sister Maiken was racing our cousin and she tripped and ended up with some nasty road rash on her face. Today ended up being the perfect weather day to go and because it's not the weekend, it wasn't too crowded either.

The trail starts out through the aspen groves

The colors are absolutely perfect right now

The backside of Sundance

First view of the falls

I was really glad I bothered to take my tripod up so I could get some soft water pics.

I would really like someone to buy me one of these houses right in the middle. My new dream in life is to be able to stand on my porch and look at a waterfall. Because I can't think of anything better.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Foto Friday

On Saturday I got up at a too early hour to go on a photo shoot with my teacher Wade and a friend of his. We went up to Midway which is extra beautiful this time of the year and worked on shooting in morning light. I have to say when I came home and looked at my pictures I was pretty disappointed. I've had that feeling a lot lately when I look at my pictures. Just always hoping they will be just a little bit different. A little more special. Yesterday a friend posted this quote from Ira Glass, host of This American Life on NPR. It perfectly said what I needed to read about how I'm feeling about photography right now. I've always had a problem with expecting too much from myself, I want to be immediately good at everything. It was a good reminder that I just need to keep practicing.

I don't think I ever ended up blogging about going to see Ira Glass speak earlier this year. It was amazing. I've been in love with him for many, many years and somehow loved him more after seeing him. I really wish I would have had a tape recorder that night.

Pigs in Midway

This is the kind of thing I still really struggle with and get frustrated about, the focus on this ended up on the fence instead of the pig. But I still like the shot.

The handsome teacher letting me practice portraits and light

On Sunday I heard two different flocks of geese loudly flying over our apartment. We see a lot of canadian geese this time of year on their way south. There is a little pond and stream system near my house that is a popular resting point so we decided to go see who was stopping by and feed the geese.

There were two humungo catfish (I think) that were fighting the geese for their share of the bread. I tried to get a pic where you could see just how big this guy was, but they were too fast and stirred up the mud a lot. He was about the same length as the geese though.

Wednesday was my last night of the photo class. We practiced a few kinds of different lighting which there is almost an infinite amount of stuff to learn about. We also had a model there who very graciously let us pose her and set up shots. It was actually really hard for me. Something I'm definitely not comfortable doing. It was fun to see how everyone else did their shots though and get some different ideas.

I've had a lot of fun and I'm really going to miss the class. Wish it had been a lot longer. Wade set up a Facebook group for all of his friends that are into photography and hopefully we will encourage each other to go on shoots and keep learning from each other. I'm actually hopeful that this group of people might be more of what I was looking for when I signed up for the photo group, which hasn't really panned out to be something I like yet.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Foto Friday

First a little photo catchup. I forgot to post this from our commune trip. When Will and Alex worked at the coffee shop, they became friends with the group of old guys that come in every morning. One of the guys invited them over to his house and ended up giving them a bunch of records from his collection. I should have spent more time looking through them because it's fun to see all the covers, even if you don't know the album. I picked out a few though that I liked to take a picture. I love that the commune prefers records and it was fun to listen to them while we were making dinner.

This sign is in the bathroom at a restaurant I sometimes go to and it just makes me laugh. Because if you have to be told that something is common decency, a good chance you don't give a shit.

Last week in photo class we talked about leading lines and using them to draw focus to something in your photo, or to just lead your eye through the photo. It was actually harder to go out and just find something without setting it up than I thought. The examples Wade showed us in class were in an orchard and of train tracks so I wanted to avoid using the same thing. So of course where I went I was surrounded by orchards and train tracks. These are what I got.

The other thing we talked about is the rule of thirds. As with most photography rules, there are definitely times to break them, but a lot of times your picture will be more interesting if the main focus is not in the middle, but at a point horizontally or vertically broken into thirds. Our assignment was to take one photo with the subject in the middle and then the same photo using thirds. I think this is a good example of how the thirds picture is more interesting.

This week I was a bad student and bailed on class because I got invited last minute to attend an Erasure concert. Luckily I think Wade forgave me and we are going on an early morning shoot tomorrow up the canyon. Maybe that's my punishment for missing class, having to get up at 5:30 a.m. The concert was awesome though! I can't say I'm a huge Erasure fan, but we had The Innocence album growing up and regularly listened to it on Saturdays while cleaning. It will always remind me of that. And hearing it at Lagoon in jr high while waiting for my friends to go on the roller coasters because I was too scared to go.

I wasn't able to take photos in the concert, but we went to Bar-X after just for a few minutes and I loved their glowing wall. The bar was bought by Danny Devito and re-done. I'd never been to it before, but it's a cool little bar now. And from what my friends said, a great improvement. They didn't have any of the kind of drinks I usually order so I asked the bartender if I could just have something girlie (I'm such a lame drinker), and she came back with something she just sort of threw together and it was really good. Sign of a great bartender! Overall it was a really fun night. And worth getting less than 4 hours of sleep before work for.