Tuesday, November 30, 2010
This past week has been kinda hectic and apparently I needed a bit of a blog break. Here's a super catchup post for you.
1. Turkey day at mom's last weekend, and then in Kansas City with Gene's side of the family. I made monkey brains. (whole head of cauliflower with cream of mushroom soup and cheese on top). My Bro-in-law, an eternal 12 year old, dubbed it monkey brains.
2. Black friday shopping with mom. It's like a tradition. She's admitted that BF is like, one of her favorite days of the year, and this is apparently hereditary. No, I don't need to go to BF, but I like a bargain, and I also like the hustle and bustle. Having said that, I shop at probably the most polite, clean, well mannered staff Walmart in the world. No really. I bought a lot of goodies, (um, for myself even oops) and find out today I'm going to have to give Gene his big gift today because he needs it for work.
3. This carving of a buzzard on a barn totally faked me out. I now know for a fact, I need to be wearing my contacts.
4. Amber (my sister) and I have been planning for months now, a trip where we go scrapbooking. This weekend we took all our crap and went to Des Moines, hit some stores, and then rented a decent hotel room and scrapped away. However we are apparently old because we only were able to stay up until 11:30 pm. We pushed our beds against the walls and moved the desk in between them. Yeah, our room was mad.
Oh, and cricut machines don't work without the power cord. Just so you know. Improvision is good.
5. I came home to a clean house (no REALLY!) and a stack of presents wrapped for MEEEEE! I'm going to leave more often.
6. It's snowing and snow sucks. I hate you go away. OK maybe that was too harsh. I dislike you greatly, now buy me a ticket please to Florida, so *I* can go away. Kthxbai
Not pictured: Been working like a dog on photos trying to get stuff out for customers so they can get their last Christmas print orders in. Sometimes I have to drag myself to do it and hate it every moment, but lately I've been seriously in the mood to edit photos and design albums, so this is why you've been seeing me less. I need to run with it before the moment is gone. ;)
Today: Working on more pics. Catching up on emails, forcing myself to take recycling to town that I forgot yesterday because it's eating my utility room, feed the chickens some warm eggs because it's cold for me inside, it's gotta suck out there.
Oh, and share some pics here.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
This sweet little family lives just a few short miles from my house but we'd never met before mom called looking for some portraits of her family. She wanted to capture what they were really like, not how well they could pose.
See the rest of the post, and photos here.
I wanted to do something special for him, but not buy a big "thing" that would sit around the house. I'm trying to focus a little more on "experiences" vs "material objects". Last month we went to a cool little town, Nebraska City, to do a shoot at Arbor Day Farms. I never knew how cool this place was and once we saw Lied Lodge, I knew I wanted to stay there.
When we were checking in, they made the mistake of saying "wine tasting" later that day, and we were so in! There's a lot to see at the park, they have a tree adventure, a ride that you can take a tour, etc. But we were most interested in that dang wine. lol We dressed up for dinner and went down early. There are many places in the lobby to just hang out and rest including a huge beautiful fireplace.
We took 2 home, and took 2 bottles with us to dinner, so needless to say, we were slightly toasted.
Ok, maybe more like burnt toasted. We hung out by the fireplace for nearly an hour sipping on wine.
The restaurant is very nice, I would call it a 3.5-4 star, but pretty reasonable priced. Our 2 meals were only $40.
We talked and laughed for an hour, and luckily they weren't busy so I didn't feel bad taking up a table. Which you know, means more apple wine.
The best part of the evening, was when Gene said "Oh hey I have something for you. This is a thank you gift" and hands me a little baggie. In it was this brooch:
He's sneaky in a good way.
Well, I hope only in a good way.
If you are in the midwest, and want an inexpensive weekend trip, go here!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
About 10 years ago, Seth (now 21) swimming in the pool. Someone said something funny and he breaks into a belly laugh.
Pure joy captured forever.
I look at this picture when I want to laugh out loud. Works every time.
Plus it's proof my kid DOES smile ;)
Monday, November 22, 2010
Yes I said YEARS.
It started with a bike, and then the next summer, I won ANOTHER bike. There were several small misc things in there I won too, which my aged brain doesn't let me remember nowadays. Because of this, I was deemed "the lucky one" and family members even started putting my name down for entries in hopes it would boost their chances of winning.
Around the time that I just started getting a little cocky and "ASSumed" I'd win something, was around the time that rug got yanked. Darn near crushed my pea pickin' heart.
So anyway, lately it feels like some sort of streak is coming back this direction. The other day I got a call. I'd entered a contest with Orscheln's Farm and Home. We'd been in a couple months ago and I saw one small little xeroxed flyer on the counter for "nature photography contest". Grand prize winner? A gun safe.
Hey, I can always use a safe the size of a toddler and 3 rottweilers!
I entered about 6 photos and checked back. No phone call, no win. whoa is me. However, when the phone rang the other day and a lady said she was from Orscheln's, she had my attention. It seems that I did win after all!
I was featured in their calendar and won a gift card!
In other news, some soon to be famous photographer we all know (psst.. I think that's me) will be featured on the front page of Wedding Chicks blog. It's only like, one of the top wedding blogs in the whole US of A!
Now that I'm onto this whole "karma" thing, I'm going to just assume that the rest of my life will be crap, then maybe good things will keep happening.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Or a dead skunk.
Yeah I'm out.
BlogHer is matching LG’s donation of .50 to dosomething.org for every comment on that post (on the review blog). It’s important for all our families, and dosomething.org will get a $1.00 for every comment.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
There is this special guy I know... He's pretty cute, very sweet (most of the time) (well to me anyway) and my very best friend. He's flat out the best thing that has ever happened to me next to my kids and today, my handsome guy turns *cough*49again*cough*
T-Bones for supper!
Oh and he's spoiled too.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
"When good things happen to beautiful, awesome, wonderful people - No I was talking about me." but that was too long. :p
Something happened to me the other day. I followed the link, of a link of a link and I rediscovered a website of a great photographer. I'd been there before, but it was a quick visit and I didn't take time to read and absorb. This time I did and I realized that not only is Mr. Clayton Austin a beautiful photographer, but also an incredible writer.
I spent over an hour reading old posts and scouring over old photos.
Clayton is very well known for his artistic photos of his piano with couples in love. This fall, he went as far as to drag it all over the midwest and west to incredible locations. One single shoot at every stop.
As a thank you to his readers, he recently had a giveaway - title a photo he took of his piano. I decided I'd give it a shot. "10 words or less, describe this photo" he said. All I could think, was that I was going to write a 10 word poem (couldn't let one word go to waste). I got out some scratch paper, scribbled the first few words that came to me, try to make a rhyme and came up with this: "“Music laps at tender souls, pulling closer it’s watery strolls.”
Hit submit and forgot it.
Imagine my surprise when about a week later I'm reading his blog again, and see my name jump off the page!
I actually won a large canvas of this photo!!
My Grandma passed away last week, and her funeral was Monday. I said to myself over the weekend, "wouldn't it be nice if I came home to my canvas being there?"
Even to fabulous people.
You know... like me. ;)
To see some of MY photography work, visit www.ceasefirestudios.net!
In somewhat related news:
I won a contest with Orscheln's! Well kind of. I entered my baby robin photo in their nature photography contest in September. I didn't win the grand prize - which for the record was a huge expensive gun cabinet (lol), however, I did make the calendar (Miss May) and I will get a $100 gift card.
So, how many things can I buy for everyone for Christmas at Orschelns? Everyone is getting a bag of chicken feed! wooo
Pssst... I ate there because I've heard about it for years. I was VERY unimpressed, and I wouldn't take someone there if I was trying to impress them.
Not that I know anything about shopping carts in the flower bed, or chickens. Just because I have a shopping cart and chickens.
21 of them.
I plead it.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
For the lack of trees in my yard, you might be surprised to learn, that I threaten to cut this one down every year. It's tall and spindly, blocks my front window view and seems randomly placed.
However, I caught it in some beautiful light, and decided that I'd give it at least one more reprieve.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
I HAVE to:
- Touch every photo I share or print
- wear liquid eyeliner. It's all I know and I don't feel right without it.
- sleep with socks on.
- sleep on my back or right side only.
- Read Postsecret every Sunday morning.
- Kiss jingles every day. W
- Wear flip flops well past the date of acceptability
- Pick a cool thing to make for EVERYONE for Christmas every year.
- Thank each and every one of you for all the wonderful comments about my Grandma. You are kind wonderful people. Also, thank you so much for the new followers (please share your blog so I can follow you back!). I will be leaving comments for everyone soon. My world has been in a bit of an upheaval the past couple months, so I'm behind on all my commenting.
- ... go to bed! I have droopy eyes.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
It's safe to say, I want a pet pig.
My grandma is 96, lives in a nursing home in Iowa and has led such an interesting life. She is my last living grandparent.
I'll start her story, with the timeline that I know. She was divorced from my grandfather in the 60's when people didn't really "divorce" so much. She set out on her own and became an independent woman.
My first memory of my Grandma was at her house in rural Missouri. All I can remember is running through her little house playing, probably at Christmas. I couldn't have been more than 3 or 4 years old. I remember the big tapestry of a pair of polar bears that hung on the wall. I now own this tapestry myself although I don't have it hung (it's huge).
My second memory of my Grandma came not long after that. I was riding in a truck that was driving a load of my Grandmother's possessions. I fell asleep and when I woke up, we were in my hometown of Conway, Iowa. Population zero.
We pulled up to the ugliest piece of crap house you could possibly imagine. The grass was 19 feet tall and there were a couple cars upside down in the front yard. This was my Grandma's new house. I remember at 4 years old thinking "what the HELL?"
I don't know why Grandma moved. At that time, she would have been close to retirement age - so maybe she retired? I never remember Grandma having a regular job although I know that she did work in factories and such earlier in her life.
Anyway, Grandma worked and worked on that little house. I remember the day that the cars were taken away on a flatbed truck by some guy. The yard was trimmed and it immediately looked 900 times better. Grandma painted and paneled the house. She even put down new "carpet" which was really just a lot of carpet samples put together. My grandmother made a patchwork quilt out of her living room floor of 75 different colors. I never thought that was weird, I thought it was fun.
She built most things herself that she needed. I was in my teens before I realized that not all grandmas knew how to run a circular saw and had a subscription to popular mechanics instead of better homes and gardens. When I was about 9, she made me an entire set of barbie doll furniture. I wanted the pink plastic ones like my cousin had, but instead, I got a hand made set with scrolled arms and tufted cushions with vintage upholstery fabric. A bed, a couch, an arm chair, a rocking chair, a dresser if I remember correctly.
Did she do it because she loved it? because it was cheaper? both? Doesn't matter, I was disappointed that I didn't get the barbie encrusted pink glitter logo ridden stuff, but later, loved it just as much. I remember telling my mother how much I wanted a canopy bed, and my mom, instead of saying no, or dragging out a catalog, suggested I ask Grandma to MAKE ME ONE. I did actually ask her, she considered it too. Sadly it never happened, and I'm sure it would have been under appreciated anyway.
She was a single woman, but she had 3 bedrooms and 4 beds. I suppose she was anticipating all the grandchildren she'd have around in the summers. Which she did! A couple weeks during the summer, my grandmother would take on no less than 10 grandchildren all at the same time. It was like camp. Funny, my mother never repaid this debt to my grandma by watching MY kids during the summer! :p
She would pile all of us into her car in shifts to take us swimming at the lake. She'd make numerous round trips. The first shift would swim while the second and third shifts were in transit. Once shift three got there, shift one got back in the car. So my Grandma took SIX TRIPS to the lake so we could all swim, never once getting out of the car.
Before I even started school, my Grandmother was my "babysitter". Mom was working, my brother and sister were in school. In a time where you just needed to be potty trained to go to Kindergarten, my grandma taught me my entire alphabet, how to tie my shoes, how to read basic words, and how to write. I would tell her what I wanted to say in a letter to my cousin Dianna, and I would copy all the letters. Then a few weeks later, a letter would come back from my cousin. Pretty powerful stuff for a 5 year old.
In her "free time", Grandma was a quilter. A crazy one. She's the only person I know that preferred to sew double knit over regular cotton fabrics. My mom would watch for old out of date pants and jackets made of double knit for her at garage sales and at Christmas most years we'd get a quilt for a gift. I have around 8-10 quilts from Grandma.
She made me a green one for my 13th birthday. I complained about it to my friends. My cousin Dianna was there and ripped me a new one in front of everyone and I've never stopped feeling guilty since. That green quilt is on my bed right now. Those double knit quilts last FOREVER.
I'll never forget:
- Grandma ratted us out for climbing my dad's maple tree.
- She got tired of me going barefoot in the summer so she bought me the 2 most uncomfortable pairs of shoes known to man. Which I hated and didn't wear.
- She smoked in her bathroom for years and pretended like she was a non-smoker, but everyone knew she was.
- Her dog BJ that was a gift from my uncle, and best friend to her Siamese cat that lived 20 years.
- She only wants red cars. She was proud the day she came to the house and all 4 of her granddaughters had a red vehicle "that's my girls" she said. lol.
- She loves boys - but always threatening to spank them. Sometimes she did.
- Has no inner voice that told you not to say something. I have found that this is a hereditary trait.
- She taught me all the best swear words.
- She's an identical twin. My aunt would show up to see grandma (she lives in Oregon) and her and grandma would have on the same outfit and carrying the same purse. They married cousins.
- She was one (well, a pair) of many kids. She and her sister were the youngest. Many named after flowers... I only met my great aunt and my uncle (Holly). (Iris, Daisy, Holly, Lily). She named my mother after her twin sister. Her twin sister named her son a version of my grandmother's name.
All the while she grew older, and living in her little house.
Family started cooking for her so she wouldn't have to use the stove. My sister visited her every day taking her meals and spending time with her. She would go to bed at 6 in the evening and get up for her day at 3 a.m. She only slept on the couch. She would piddle around and mom finally took away her keys - or disabled her car, I can't remember which it was, but she wasn't allowed to drive any more. Which was probably a good thing considering her speeding tickets and all.
Around 2003 she fell and hurt herself. She went to a nursing home "temporarily" but the truth was, it was permanent. She hated the loss of her independence.... soon she forgot about her independence and before you knew it, she was the "owner" of a huge mansion in Iowa with a staff of 20. Just ask her! She would invite you to stay, she had plenty of beds (again) and the "girls" will make a nice dinner.
I would invite you to go visit this woman and have a funny and memorable conversation with her in her palatial estate, but I can't.
Grandma died yesterday.
She's been going for a while now. I haven't been to visit her in a couple years. Grandma has lost her memory of everyone and didn't recognize anyone. She stopped talking. She would have no idea who I was, but I knew her, and didn't want to remember her that way. She was 96 and went out like I wanna go out. Only knowing the good stuff I want to remember, having a huge home, and a small staff to serve it.
She was my second mother, and sometimes stricter than my own. I was the only one she "helped raise" and she made a huge impact on my life. She taught me that women can do anything they'd like to do, and they don't require a man to accomplish it. At the same time, they can still be soft, sweet and loving. If someone told me otherwise, I would counter with my "case in point": Grandma.
Don't eff with Grandma.
I wish you could have met her, and hope that this was a bit of you getting that opportunity. There will only be graveside services on Monday, no funeral services, so let this serve as my eulogy to my grandma. It's what I would have said that day.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
That's a polite way of saying they are ornery.
But ornery is not bad, especially in the case of this brother and sister. Even tho they will probably have a life time of "Mom he hit me!" and "Dad she won't give me back my ball glove!" you can tell that they have a beautiful little relationship, and truly love each other.
I give you the above photo as proof.
See the rest of this post and more photos here.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
See more photos from their engagement session here.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Can you believe it? I have partial title and ownership on a TWENTY ONE YEAR OLD? God help me. How did I manage raising children at the ripe old age of 7, I'll never understand. ;)
Ya see, cuz, I'm 28 and all.
Happy Birthday Seth.
Please do not get drunk and puke up your guts.
On the other hand, if you drink and are absolutely miserable, maybe you'll learn a lesson the hard way. Hmm.
Seth is a pretty cool guy. He's funny (well, more smartass than funny), pretty damn good looking if I say so myself and a hard worker. He works full time, and part time, plus, he goes to school 2 nights a week.
That much work and school keeps one from drinking too much in my ever so humble opinion. At least that's what I keep telling myself.
Love you Seffers!
PS. Please let me take a few photos of you so I don't have to share your Senior photos any more. Even tho you look exactly the same. Grumpy face and all.
I need your help! I've posted a call to action over on my review blog, and I'd really like your help!
Every comment, question, etc, $1.00 will be donated by Blogher and LG to DoSomething.org
Friday, November 5, 2010
Yep, smack in the middle of a beanfield, in nowhere Missouri, that's my lil' house. Sometimes it's not beans, sometimes it's corn but the routine is pretty much the same. beansbeansbeansbeansbeans lana's house beansbeansbeansbeansbeans.
I kinda like it that way to be honest.
So anyway, every year there's a build up in the spring, excited to see some plant life, then it starts to grow, and grow, and grow, and you get a new privacy fence. It's wonderful to hear the wind blow through the beans or even better the corn. A couple months ago, I decided to document for you, what this looks like from my perspective.
Yeah, I know many of you have seen soybeans, in fact, some of you might have your own soybean field, but there are many places on this planet that have never see it... some of those people read here. (I even have a readers from Dubai and Brunei!) So play along everyone, let's be nice to our out of town guests!
In August, the beans looked like this. It's about waist high, and it's a sea of moving swaying green life. Sometimes it's cool to just stand there and hear all the leaves rustle together. It's so bright green and just feels like summer.
This is the view of my neighbor's house down the road across the beans. I'm sure you know that soybeans are used in meat replacements and biofuel. But did you also know that it's used for things like insulation, cosmetics and vodka?
Here is an interesting article about soybeans, and the politics of them. Yeah, there's politics in soybeans.. deep politics that I know nothing about, so I'll let those ppl that know about it and understand it explain it.
In September, they slowly started to die, as the days turned cooler. The beans turn to a pretty gold color:
Then BAM, one day, you're eating cereal and reading
Perez Hilton MSN, and think "wth is that noise?" Yep, then you see this outside your back door:
That my friends, is what a quarter of a million dollars looks like. Approximately.
It trolls along and scours the earth until every little last bit is gone.
It's kind of a culture shock, seeing all this life around you suddenly disappear. Kind of like in the spring when Gene shaves off his winter beard. I can't decide for a week or two if I really like it or not.
Around the time I get used to the beans being gone, I hear a familiar noise coming down the road across the street. (And by "street" I mean rural gravel road)
This time it's the corn's turn.
Another quarter million comes trolling by, cutting away one swath at a time.
The process is actually really interesting. The corn is cut and cleaned as it goes through the combine. There is tons of debris that shoots out of the back as this happens.
Then a tractor pulls along side, and they don't stop moving, too much to do for that. So the tractor is pulling a wagon and it fills from the combine's hopper where it's stored.
Once the wagon is full it gets hauled off down the road to the awating semis.
Then another chute comes out and offloads to the semi's where then it's taken to a local grain place where it's sold. This, of course, is my highly technical description, I can dumb it down for you a bit more if you need me to. ;P
When I was in junior high, I had a couple friends that went out on this process. They were sitting on the edge of the wagon as it offloaded, pushing the corn with their feet. For the record, you don't need to, it does it itself, but you know, they were kids and wanted to be in the way pain in the asses.
Well, one friend slipped and fell into the corn. She was literally drowning in corn.
The second friend screamed for help and one of the farm hands had a shovel and started shoveling as fast as he could. They saved her!
She said that all she could do, was swallow as much corn as came into her mouth. She also said a few weeks later, she blew her nose and out came some corn.
Being alive IS cool tho.
Stay out of the corn kids, be cool.
Now the earth is naked again, and the wind seems to be blowing harder than ever with nothing there to slow it down. I can see a mile in almost every direction and the dust and debris kicks up everywhere. I'm not looking forward to that winter blowing snow in drifts that cover my car and keep Gene from going to work.
But the up side to this, is the skies are larger again... and I'm back in small sky country - which is just like big sky country only smaller ;)
Happy Fall Ya'll