Friday, October 31, 2008

Did it again.

I do it every year. I bought too much candy for the Trick or Treaters. And as usual, I wasn't smart enough to buy something that I didn't like such as Skittles or Laffy Taffy. So now I'm stuck with a large bag of Nestle Crunch Bars with Caramel. Stuck. Stuck.

The kids were all wonderful and the costumes were terrific. Mr. Eris Jr. won a prize at his school for the "most creative". He was a bottle of ketchup. Yup. Last night he told Eris that he no longer wanted to be Harry Potter because his friend Kelsey was going to be a hot dog. Okay... I don't know how long it took Eris but the resulting costume was great, especially when the hot dog joined him.

Little Ms. Eris was Luna Lovegood and Littlest Ms. Eris was a perfect Dobby. Eris was stunning as Ugly Betty, a costume that she claims cost her $4,000 (braces). Jubee was a football player.

Trick or Treating started out at Athena's office where they really know how to throw a party. No cheap mini-Tootsie Rolls at this place! One guy was handing out dollar bills, which really impressed the kids.

After we got back to the house the Princess, dressed as a ladybug joined us, along with the Duchess and Duke. It was a particularly stressful day in their kingdom due to the new cast that is on the Princess' left arm. But that is for another post.

To see a few more photos you can go over to the Shooting Blog.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Boo to You!

Athena and D-Rock
The CaveCouple

Eris as the Bride of Frankenstein

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Out on the farm

More pixel playtime again today (can you hear this computer groaning..).

This image is my favorite from the set taken last Friday. Nephew Deke has this 60 year old tractor that he got running again. Jenn requested sepia tones but just for fun I left in a little of that aged rusty color. The two boys are very quiet and it took a little while to warm them up. Luckily I had the pink satin bunny ears in my gear bag. That brought out those cute dimples.

Last January I was fortunate enough to take
photos at their wedding. Hopefully they will let me take photos of the new baby when it arrives in six months! Way to go!

The second photo is of the back of the barn at their new home. It is a fairly large barn and is visible from a few miles down the country road. The lights strung on the back of the barn were his proposal last year. She tells me he still occasionally turns them on. Yes, that's our Deke.

$.10 (the dentist got it all)

P.S. One last thought. PLEASE VOTE. If you are in Utah you can vote early. And maybe if you all holler loudly enough Athena will tell you about the first time she voted four years ago.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Playing with Pixels

The last three days have been busy, either with the camera in my hand or at the computer playing around with pixels. Oh, I love those pixels, especially the ones that come out of my new toy. Friday I took photos of nephew Deke and his growing family. Yesterday afternoon Jan and her grandchildren were the subjects of my often-obnoxious zoom lens. Then tonight I got to pick on the Duchess and her royal family. The Princess has grown up with my camera pointed at her so she's not impressed when we try to get her to sit still for a 1/250th of a second. Special thanks to Eris for standing behind me and being the entertainment for the little one. She has done this a number of times and is excellent at it. Maybe a backup career if teaching (or whatever she will do) gets boring down the road?
In the last three days my shutter has clicked over 800 times and many hours have been spent sitting at this computer tweeking images. Every minute of it is sheer enjoyment. Hopefully there will be a few that will be loved and shared.

On the way home tonight I reflected back on the old film days, the days before instant pixel gratification. When Bubba and Jubee were born I stopped on my way home from the hospital to get one-hour processing done on the film so that I could show them off to everyone that would look. There was no correcting a bad photo. Nowadays there is a disposable camera in my glove compartment, a Point and Shoot in the car door, a camera on my cell phone (never used) and often a DSLR in the back seat or trunk. If we are gone for more than one night the computer goes with me as well. Just call me the Pixel Packin' Mama.


The little guy at the top is Jan's grandson. He was adorable. The lower photo is a classic example of what being a Grandmother is all about. Those three kids adore her.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


A few days ago I switched out my closet. Summer shorts finally went into the storage bin until next May. Sweatshirts and turtlenecks took their place. In the winter you will find me with layer upon layer. Jeans and hoodies, sweaters, turtlenecks, all of the warm stuff.

While I was hanging up the tops that would get me through the next six months my favorite knit shirt came off the shelf. It was purchased five years ago in Jackson Hole, WY and I still remember the little store. Last year I noticed that it was starting to wear out. The cuffs are fraying and have little holes in the seams. It was once a nice butter-yellow color but now has faded to a nondescript beige. It has been bleached many times due to various things being spilled on it, including tomato sauce and paint at one time. A good number of babies have most likely spit up on it. But it is still the first item that is pulled out of my closet.

This morning I chuckled when I put it on. Just like a pair of old shoes, it just feels right. You all have one. That flannel blanket that you all sleep with to keep you warm, the threadbare jeans that never ride up the wrong place, the stinky baseball cap that no one else will touch, the pajama bottoms that were outgrown four years ago. Comfort clothing. We all have something that we cling to.

I should throw it in the rag pile. It's not in good enough condition to send it to my favorite secondhand store. It passed that milestone two years ago. So it will be washed again, worn, washed, continuing that cycle for as long as possible until it absolutely must be retired.

That will be a sad day for me.

Fess up. What is your comfort item?


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Jubee is Twelve!

Happy Birthday to Jubee! I wanted a granddaughter. I wanted a granddaughter really bad. One that I could put ribbons in her dark, curly hair and make frilly little dresses for her to wear. She was born twelve years ago today, just as I requested.
The photo above is my mother's favorite. She was about three years old and was having a ball in the back yard blowing enormous bubbles. I have many memories with Jubee. She was the first of my grandchildren to share weekly Grandma days. Our routine usually involved going up to the hospital to have lunch with Grandmama in the cafeteria where the volunteer ladies would all ooh and ahh over her beautiful dark hair and eyes. Sometimes we would visit Athena at work. We also had fun times baking cookies and playing with Grandpa, who by the way was putty in her hands from day one.

She is growing into a lovely, smart young woman. I know that I can always count on her when I need a model for a photography experiment. She is also my Holiday Shopping Buddy. Last year she even reluctantly helped with my Festivus Celebration. Of all my kids, she is the one who can roll her eyes in the largest circle when I suggest something crazy.

Jubee, we love you and hope that you have a wonderful birthday. We will see you for dinner and hugs tonight!


You asked for it, Eris! I also added a few more over at the Shooting Blog.This was taken while having lunch at the hospital with Grandmama. She had been warned to quit playing around on the chair. Sure enough she got her cute little head stuck in the chair. All of the little lady volunteers thought I was an awful Grandma because I wouldn't get her out before I took her picture. The chair had to be tipped upside down to free her!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


First of all, the stupid Tooth Fairy did not show up the other night. This time I trusted her, but noooo, she just blew me off. All those years I covered for her and lovingly sneaked quarters under those little pillows. Where was she this time? Out drinking and carousing with the Easter Bunny? Making nice with St. Nick? Flitting around with a little Leprechaun?

I spent the last three days being lazy, and by that I mean lazy, lazy, lazy. With Zeus still in Berkeley I kicked back and did practically nothing. I did manage to drag my butt out of bed Sunday and Monday mornings for half-hearted runs but then promptly returned to doing nothing for the rest of the day. It's a good thing that Zeus has returned or I might still be sitting at the island eating Ghirardelli chocolate. Hey, if I can't have a caramel apple that will do just fine.

The images at the left were taken in The Mining Building on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley. There were three huge skylights with lamps hanging from the centers of each. To get the bottom image I had to lie down on the lobby floor on my back and scoot around until I got exactly under the hanging lamp. The building was constructed in 1918. It was amazing.

$3.23 (.08 contributed by Zeus)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sidewalk 2, Numismatist 0

The title of this post should really be

Sidewalk 2, Numismatist $-966.00

Remember this post? After weeks of working through bruised ribs and a very sore arm I was back to normal. At least, normal for me.
Then it happened. Standing in the kitchen eating an innocent cookie. I know, I know, bad, bad, bad. Hmmm, thomething feelth weird. Thomething ith mithing. There ith a hole that thouldn't be there. Aacckk! Thpit out the cookie and run to the bathroom. Thitfartdamnpeehell!!! A front tooth ith completely mithing, right down to the gum! (Athtually, one netht to the front tooth, but thtill very vithible. Thitfartdamnpeehell!!!

Of courthe, my dentitht ith out of town but hith athothiate Thcott (I love thith cute young guy) agreeth to thtay late and thee me. On the thirty minute drive to the offithe I am imagining thouthandth of dollarth in bridgework, not to mention the pain of ethtracting what ith left of the tooth. The thought altho goeth through my thelfith, wicked mind that I'm really glad that I got the camera two weekth ago before thith happened.

Turnth out that in the fall the tooth wath theverely cracked and it took thith innothent chocolate cookie to break it in two. Thuth, the unethplained bleeding and thoreneth for the latht two weekth. After one hour in the chair and through the miracle of modern dentistry I am now proudly sporting a purty new temporary crown, to be replaced with a purtier porcelain crown as soon as I hand over $966.00. And in the meantime, no caramel apples. What the..... it's Halloween!

I'm leaving the partial tooth under my pillow tonight. Are you listening Tooth Fairy?

Toothless Bubba 2000

Good luck to Eris!

Eris is in St. George today getting ready to run in her first mini-Triathalon. Yeah, we all know that she is nuts.


Back to business

Getting away and exploring San Francisco was nice but so is coming home. The house is quiet and the bags are unpacked. I haven't yet opened the carefully wrapped box of Ghirardelli squares because once I do they will disappear too quickly. This morning I went back to my usual yogurt and shredded wheat breakfast. The past three days in Berkeley brought all kinds of unexpected "what ifs" to my mind. I'm still sorting through them, but here are a few. I grew up in the 60's and 70's. The mantras were "Free Love", "Make Love, Not War", and "Peace". Granted, here in Utah there was not much of that going on and I led a pretty sheltered life. Marriage and children happened shortly after high school graduation. As I wandered around the campus of Cal State Berkeley and through the downtown area I couldn't help wondering how different my life would have been had I gone on to college and immediately experienced what all of the students I was observing were going through. How much did I miss? Would I have been one of those arrested for protesting the war in Vietnam? How serious would I have been about education? Partying or working three jobs to pay for tuition? All of these questions and many more ran through my head.

As Zeus and I talked about it he assured me that his years in college involved lots of hard work. I have met his frat brothers and know that while that is indeed true there were many raucous parties to attend. His reunion two years ago was very revealing! Still, there is a little regret that I didn't take the path that many of my classmates took. (Hawaii calling?) My college years came ten years and two daughters later under the label of Non-Traditional Student. Looking back, even at age 30 those years were filled with rebellion, re-examining my life and the world around me and trying to find Peace.

Today I am back in my home and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

$.38 and 15 shower caps!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Zeus' special day!

I am posting this one day before Zeus' birthday so that he can see any wishes before he heads over to his conference. We are still in San Francisco, more specifically, Berkeley, enjoying a week of good times and wonderful sight-seeing.
A teenage Zeus.

This is the way I will always remember Zeus, the good looking new teacher at my high school that coached the Debate Team.
Here's hoping that you have a wonderful birthday. Thank you for being a part of our lives. We love you so much!

Note: To see a few of our wedding photos click here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Today's food finds

Lunch in San Francisco's Chinatown at Hunan Homes. Ummmm.
Ghirardelli Square. Of course, I had to go there. The first place that I saw was Kara's Cupcakes. Oh my, that chocolate cupcake with Ghirardelli frosting was yummy. Dinner at Fisherman's Wharf.We were in the car for about eight hours exploring San Francisco, seeing the lovely parks and being entertained by the locals. This guy had two empty beer bottles in his shopping cart at the wharf and was more than happy to pose for me!

P.S. Les, I looked out over the Pacific today and waved at you. Did you see me?

Monday, October 13, 2008

The diversity of food

Berkeley. I love this town. Old hippies are everywhere. Anything goes here. People come in all colors and ethnicities. Diversity.

The aromas on the street are unlike anything I have ever experienced before. This afternoon for lunch we walked across the street where I had the best veggie burrito ever. Tonight we walked next door to a Thai restaurant and split a plate of Chicken Curry cooked in coconut milk. Mmmm, delicious.

Earlier this afternoon while in the little artisan center on Fourth Street we split this lemon tart made at Betty's Bakery. There wasn't even a crumb left over.

Tomorrow we will take a driving tour of San Francisco in search of more food. The weather is very pleasant, in the 70's and sunny. What more could we want?


P.S. Happy Sukkah

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The diehards

It snowed today. Come on, October 11th and we had snow? Last weekend we had snow-covered mountaintops for a day but it didn't hit the valley floors. I'm afraid that when I get up in the morning there will be a few inches to greet me. In the middle of the snowstorm Mr. Eris, Jr. had a soccer game. A temperature billboard at the school showed 37 degrees. The cold by itself doesn't necessarily bother me, especially if I'm out running, but this was a wet, blowing snow and we had to just stand still and watch the game.

It was a great game, in spite of the wet, slippery field and a ball that just wouldn't go very far when kicked. The player's were freezing by the time it was over but they walked away with a good win.

I think I'll go to California.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Putting it to the test

The guy in the middle of this game is Mr. Eris. There are actually six soccer players in the photo, plus a ball. I chuckled when I looked at the photo because it tells the true story of Mr. Eris. He can often be found standing in the center with chaos and confusion all around him, usually with a totally innocent look on his face.

(Caution: camera nerd talk ahead.) This and other photos were taken a few hours ago at an indoor soccer game. Wanting to put my new toy through it's paces, at least some of them, I set it to a high 800 ISO and started shooting. This particular image is at a shutter speed of 1/8th sec at F5 with no flash. I am pleased with how it performed in low light. Okay enough of that boring stuff.

Indoor soccer played by grown men is fast-paced and intense. It also can get very rough and physical. Tonight's game was no exception. The bonus is that they have some nice legs to look at.


Check out Muriel's blog! She has a great short video clip that we all got a kick out of tonight! Don't get any bright ideas, Eris.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Teaching your sons?

This afternoon Zeus and I spent a couple of hours watching Mr. Eris, Jr. playing soccer. He plays in a competition league, which is tougher and more competitive than the regular AYSO league.

There is only one girl, Elli, who plays in this league and she is on Jr.'s team. She isn't afraid to get right into the game and fight for the ball, going toe to toe with the other boys. We all cheer loudly for her.

Tonight while watching the game we ended up sitting on the opposing team's side, right in the middle of parents. The game was lopsided (in our favor) and we were trying to keep a low profile.

At one point Elli was doing some kick-butt defending. I heard a mother shout at her son "Come on Andrew! Are you going to let a girl beat you?" What the hell? Way to teach your son, lady.


Monday, October 6, 2008

My Pearl

This is my Pearl, also known as Littlest Ms. Eris. It is her birthday today. She will be three years old, a feat that will be celebrated, especially by me. You see, since the day she was born my theory has been that she is part feline with nine lives, most of which have already been used up. By the time she was one year old she had already undergone months of physical therapy, a cat scan, and multiple ER visits on holidays due to unexplained fevers. We learned to always expect the unexpected whenever Littlest was around.

Littlest and I have a special bond. She spent much of her first year teaching me patience. The second year was spent recuperating from the first. Now comes the fun part. Three years old is one of my favorite years. Everything is new to her and she is eager to experience anything that I suggest.

The photo above is one of my all-time favorites. While trying to get a picture of the girls in their Easter dresses two years ago Littlest just wouldn't cooperate. She refused to look at the camera and instead wanted to play with the tulips in the front yard. Later while culling through the photos I kept coming back to this one, not really understanding why it appealed to me so much. I nearly deleted it a number of times. It took a few days to realize that this was an unintentional likeness of Sunbonnet Sue, a very old quilt pattern that I have made many times.

Pearl, I love you! I'll pick you up this afternoon so we can open birthday presents and celebrate our three years together!


Sunday, October 5, 2008


The worms crawl in. The worms crawl out.
The worms play pinochle on your snout.
They eat your eyes. They eat your nose.
They eat the jelly between your toes.

It has rained here for the last 24 hours. Hard. My running clothes were set out as usual last night but secretly I was hoping for a downpour this morning so I would have a good excuse to stay in bed. Nah, it was just a sprinkle, not enough to justify being lazy. Besides, it is Pajama Church Day (ask Eris) so I knew there would be no traffic at all on the streets.

After a good rain the worms are everywhere. Long worms. Fat worms. Old worms and baby worms. When initially starting out of the driveway I try to avoid stepping on them but after the first corner just sigh and hope that I don't hit a really fat one and go slip-sliding on my backside. By tomorrow they will be reduced to dried up strings on the road.

It was a beautiful morning and the fresh rain smell was incredible. There is a field down the street where the hay was recently cut and every seagull in the state was there feasting on the earthworms that had slithered out of the wet ground and being very noisy about it. Loved it!


(Three of my neighbors watched as I knelt in the street to take photos of worms with puzzled looks on their faces.)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Say it with me now:

nuclear \ nu-kle-er adj 1. of, relating to, or constituting a nucleus 2a. of or relating to the atomic nucleus 2b. used in or produced by a nuclear reaction (as fission) etc. etc.

Say it with me now: nu-kle-er, nu-kle-er, nu-kle-er, nu-kle-er, nu-kle-er, nu-kle-er

No, not nu-cu-lar.

nu-kle-er. nu-kle-er. nu-kle-er.

Repeat until you can say this word correctly, which in some cases may be NEVER!
(Can't someone help her?)

Sorry, Athena.

$.31 (blaming the economy)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I never met you, but....

I didn't have the opportunity to meet her. Nevertheless, we share many bonds, all of them very special to me. Her children, grandchildren and now great-grandchildren are very important parts of my life and I love them all.

I especially owe a huge debt to her for my incredible marriage. She and Zeus shared a life together for 25 years. Proof of the success of that union was that he was willing to undertake another marriage, along with another set of teenagers, without hesitation.

Today is her birthday. I owe her many thanks.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The best birthday present

For my third birthday my parents gave me a most unusual birthday present. A brand new baby sister. Now how many kids can say that? She was better than a pretend doll or a new trike.

Often I have heard the comment that it must have been unfair to have to share my birthday with a sibling. Nope. Not at all. It just makes for bigger parties! Also, with two of us on the same day it was impossible to forget. While growing up the rule was that we got to have a party with friends on the even number years. We still celebrate every year, although the family has grown enough that this year will be just cake and ice cream next weekend at her house.
Thanks Paula for being such a great sister and I hope that you have a Happy 26th Birthday!