Archives for September 2011

Thursday Ten (On Friday. Some weeks are just like that)

1. This week has flown by and I feel like the world’s crappiest blogger, but hey, you know what? That’s okay! I’m not getting paid to be here! I’m here because I want to be and I write because I want to – awesome, right? That said, I like to write, I like to fill this space – so I don’t really like it when I haven’t written in awhile. I miss it. So… how are y’all? Good, right?

2. My eye decided to be a big jerk this week. My doctor and eye doc aren’t sure what’s wrong or what caused the intense stabbing pain – but whether it was an infection or something else, the result is my cornea is worn down. So, I’ve got lots of drops (ugh), and I can’t wear my contacts for awhile (double ugh), and my eyes are tired and ugh (ugh ugh ugh), but they feel like they might be getting better, so…we’ll see.

3. The ArtPrize Top Ten was announced last night, and I will have to write another post about it because while I’m pleased with a few of the pieces on that list, I am somewhat dismayed by the popular vote. As someone who spends a lot of time visiting a lot of venues, I sure do wish others would visit more besides the “big attractions” because there’s a LOT TO SEE OUT THERE, and I think some really phenomenal pieces were overlooked in favor of…crap. [Post to come in the next few days. I do have some favorites in the Top 10, so I know where my vote is going – but… people… get out there and EXPLORE.]

4. I was able to shoot an event last night – the first of its kind that I’ve been hired to do. I was very nervous going into it, but I felt okay while there, and I love some of my shots, and the people were fine. Though… shooting parties with buffets is tough – I refuse to photograph people putting food into their mouths or chewing – so…. once people started eating, it got a little more difficult to photograph things! And that’s when I’d shoot wine glasses on window sills.
029 | 365

5. On my way home from the event last night, the sky was an amazing orange color – I actually exited the highway so I could pull over and take a picture. There was also a rainbow in the opposite direction – but by the time I pulled over, it was gone. But this sky? Took my breath away. I never want to get to the point where a sunset doesn’t take my breath away.
I'm sorry, I can't talk right now - I have to pull over and look at the sky.

6. I haven’t had time to buy new music this week. Or listen to new music. Though, every time I turn on the radio in the car these days, I am amazed how similar everything sounds – all auto-tune and bass. My birthday is in less than three weeks – I must just be getting old.

7. MY BIRTHDAY IS IN LESS THAN THREE WEEKS. And I’ve gotten my first two birthday “cards” – from Victoria’s Secret and DSW Shoes. (“Happy Birthday Sarah! Buy stuff!”)

8. I’m really hungry and thinking of Qdoba. Just so you know.

9. I had to take The Princess to have her finger re-xrayed this morning. We waited an hour. AN HOUR. I wasn’t happy. Here’s hoping it’s healed though.

10. It’s pumpkin season. Pumpkin lattes, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin whatever. I hate the taste of pumpkin. Does it really need to go into everything?

Thursday Ten: The Week Feels A Hundred Years Long Edition

1. One of the most difficult things about working is that my Thursday ten post doesn’t get written until it’s late. I mean, it’s already FRIDAY in the UK. They’ve had to go the whole day without knowing what was going on in my world. A travesty. I’m so sorry.

2. Sometimes amidst the chaos, some good opportunities sneak through. I was asked to photograph an event and I’m very excited about the opportunity. A little nervous too, but mostly excited. And honored. SO HONORED to have been asked. And, yes, to be getting paid to shoot the event. All good.

3. In light of this upcoming job, I decided it was time to upgrade the camera. VERY. EXCITING. I have yet to use it, though – too bad new cameras don’t come with a fully charged battery for impatient photographers.

4. This was the type of week that can be called a “Venti” week. When a grande just won’t do.

5. I’m still listening to Grace Potter and the Nocturnals on repeat. I love this video because it just looks like so much fun. And the guy is playing an ice bucket.

6. One of the ArtPrize exhibits I have been looking forward to is Ji Lee’s “Pieces of Peace” – which involves these little Buddhas lined up outside a building in Grand Rapids for people to take and to photograph elsewhere. Of course I took one four. I may need to start a new photoset on Flickr for my little buddha’s adventures.

7. This morning, as I was helping Pumpkin with her homework, one of the questions involved her having to draw stars. She had never drawn a star before. So I taught her the easy way to draw one, and when I got home from work, she had another sheet of paper she’d covered with stars. It’d have never occurred to me otherwise to teach her how to draw stars.

8. The Princess’s finger seems to be getting a little better – though she’s still babying it quite a lot. We have another week until it gets re-xrayed. Here’s hoping it’s improved – I think she’s antsy to get back to gymnastics.

9. My gosh, is it even Thursday anywhere anymore? (Kidding. Kind of.)

10. Tomorrow I have the day off – you know how good that feels? I still have a lot to get done – but I get to wear jeans! And a ponytail if I want to! And go see art! And take my girlies out for donuts in the morning! And probably have another venti (Why not?)!

A little monkey fun

Dale Rogers MonkeysIn case you didn’t know, today is opening day for ArtPrize in Grand Rapids – and some of you probably remember how last year, I got all geeked out about ArtPrize because face it – it may just be the most awesome thing about west Michigan (Okay, it IS the most awesome thing about west Michigan).

Well, this year probably won’t be too different, because here we are at opening day and I’ve already gone out to check out the art a few times – including yesterday BEFORE THE EVENT WAS EVEN OPEN.

There are certain pieces each year that get quite a bit of pre-opening day press. There are pieces I look forward to seeing and keep an eye out for – pieces I just HAVE to see. Year one of ArtPrize, that piece was “Nessie”, the giant Loch Ness monster that happily lived in the Grand River for months before finding a new home at the zoo. Last year, it was Beili Liu’s Lure/Forest – the red thread exhibit that I fell in love with (and ultimately placed in the Top Three of ArtPrize).

This year the piece I had been waiting for were these metal monkeys by metal artist Dale Rogers. Yesterday at lunch, while walking around downtown with my mom, we spotted the artist on the bridge, hanging the monkeys. “We’ve been waiting for the monkeys!” we told him.

He then offered to let me go up in the cherry picker with him and someone from his studio to see just how the heck he hangs those big metal monkeys.

I don’t love heights. You know this. Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge in California this summer was a nerve-wracking experience for me. This bridge? Not nearly as high (really, not even close) and yet, on a bridge, on a cherry picker kinda deal AT THE VERY TOP OF THE BRIDGE?), well, I got a little nerve-sweat.

But it was cool and it was an amazing experience, and I got to see just how the monkeys are secured on that bridge (so those of you who might be worried about the wind – don’t be – those monkeys are up there securely). And I’m ever so grateful for the opportunity, and grateful the artist didn’t immediately lower the basket and kick me off when he realized that I was going to be a slightly nervous passenger.  I’m glad I didn’t let my little height phobia thing get in my way. It was truly exhilarating and the highlight of my day yesterday. Possibly the highlight of this WEEK, even.

For this ArtPrize junkie, there truly was no better way to kick off this year’s adventure.

I will always have gum

I am going to be an aunt.

I am going to be an aunt and I am very very excited about it.

Well, I am very excited about it – but surely I’m a notch less excited than my sister and her husband who have moved heaven and earth for this to be possible – who have undergone countless tests, medical procedures and heartache along the way.

I have had friends that have struggled to become pregnant – I have heard of people with infertility, and what you should say and how you should say it, and while I’ve always done my best to be sensitive – I never truly realized how devastating it is to someone going through it. Until I watched my sister and her husband go through it.

This is not one of those posts where I’m going to offer you advice on what to do when someone you love is struggling to get pregnant – there are people who do so far more eloquently than I ever could, and I can only speak for what was helpful to my sister (which is to say – not much – it’s been a very difficult road for her).

She called to tell me that she was pregnant the night before I kicked off the Avon Walk in San Francisco in July. I was in the walk hotel when the call came in. I remember jumping up and down and being so tremendously excited.

I still am.

And it’s exciting to hear her talking about baby names, and it’s thrilling to think of baby showers, and it’s fun when I send her a message and say, “That is gonna be one overly-photographed baby!” and she says, “I guess he or she better be cute then, huh?” but I know this baby will be beautiful. Not just because my sister is beautiful – because she is SO beautiful – but because this baby is already so loved. In fact, I already love my niece or nephew so much it almost doesn’t even matter if the baby is a Michigan State fan like my sister. I’ll love it anyway.

But I’ll do my best to prevent the Spartan-love.

It’s an aunt’s duty.

Thursday Ten: The Pinkie Finger Debacle Edition

1. The Princess jammed her finger on Tuesday. She jammed it doing some kind of flip off the bars in gymnastics – and between the purpley color and the swelling, it seemed like a visit to the doc might be a good thing. Sure, her coach said it was only jammed, but I’m not entirely sure where her medical degree came from (Oh wait. She DOESN’T. HAVE. ONE.) – and after hearing horror stories of fingers that didn’t get properly set, “better safe than sorry” seemed the way to go. Verdict: It’s fractured. Not much they can do about it, but it’s good to know.

2. New music that’s not really that new. Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, “Things I Never Needed”. A guitar teacher on Twitter was talking about it – and I like Grace Potter, but I’m not familiar enough that I know the whole song catalog. So I’m listening to TONS of Grace Potter.

3. Some days I order a nonfat cappuccino. Some days I order a soy cappuccino. And some days, I get to the counter to place my order and am racked with indecision. Thankfully, the gurus of coffee said – do half soy, half skim. And I did. And it was good. AND NOW I NEVER HAVE TO MAKE A MILK DECISION FOR MY CAPPUCCINO AGAIN.

4. I’m such a Sharpie pen addict, I bring my own pen to work every day. At the end of the work day, I toss it back into my bag with my to-do list notebook, but I can’t stand to use their pens. I may have a Sharpie problem.

5. Last week, I bought some new deodorant. That’s not really newsworthy – I mean, I wear deodorant daily. I have a very sensitive sense of smell, and so I really can’t stand the thought of not smelling okay. I got something different. Nah, I’m not going to tell you the brand – mostly because I don’t remember and I’m too lazy to get up – but it ended up being extremely powdery-scented. So much so that I was sitting at my desk the other day, extremely aware of my arm pits smelling like baby powder. And it was awful. I replaced it tonight. I couldn’t take it anymore.

6. Yesterday, The Princess and her friend wanted to bake so I let them take over the kitchen and make chocolate chip cookies. When she was done she HID THE COOKIES FROM ME. Seriously: I have no idea where the cookies are. And right now, I’d really REALLY like one. Do I know where they are? Nope. No clue. She’s a smart girl, that one.

7. After two days of wearing tall shoes to work, I wore flats today. My pants are too long. Or my legs are too short. Either way… I need a tailor. Or stilts.

8. Project Runway is on and my attention span is shot and I’ve barely watched it. That’s how you know it’s been a long day.

9. Tomorrow, I have the day off my new job but plenty of work to do at my old job and that doesn’t seem very relaxing, does it?  Some of the ArtPrize exhibitors have their pieces installed in Grand Rapids already – and I think me and my camera will need to take a trip to see some pretty things. Mostly because I love ArtPrize and partly because I’ve taken some rotten pictures this week. My creativity is lacking.

10. So, I need a tenth thing, and I don’t really have one, so tell me something about your week (OH MY GOD I AM SO LAZY AND UNCREATIVE TODAY). How are you?  What’s your favorite song these days? Seen any good movies lately?

Do YOU 365?

Every day, no matter what my day is like, I take at least one picture. Every day, since September 1, 2008 I have taken a picture (or more) each day, and designated one as my “picture of the day”. I have posted those pictures in various places over the years – namely Flickr and Facebook – for over one thousand days so far.

And I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

I just began my fourth year of a 365 Project. It’s exactly what it sounds like – a picture a day, every day. Can it be a cell phone shot? Sure. Some of my favorite ones are! Whether it was taken with a cell phone, a point and shoot, or my DSLR – every day I’ve made it a point to somehow mark my day with an image.

Some days, it’s an image I feel especially proud of.
326 | 365


Some days, it’s an image that tells me how I spent my day.


When I’m sick, my pictures aren’t very exciting.


And even the occasional, obligatory airplane wing-shot.
206 | 365


And at the end of the year, when I look back at the 365 days that just passed by, I remember the days with a clarity I might not have had this project not been a part of my life. Books I’m reading, food I’ve prepared, cups of coffee consumed (OH SO MANY CUPS OF COFFEE CONSUMED), new shoes, smiling faces of people I love, travel. Big moments, small moments – all of them, they’re there. And nothing has escaped me, and those moments are mine to hang on to.

I know it seems a daunting challenge – I know it seems like, “How will I remember? What if I forget? What if my pictures aren’t good? What if?”

Well, sure. If you’re not used to doing something – there’s always the chance that it’s going to take you a bit to make it a habit. If you keep a daily to-do list, put it on your list for awhile. It does become habit. Just wait. And of course – always make sure you have a camera with you – the best camera is the one you have with you. Even if it’s your cell phone.

Every day. One picture. Possibly forever.

Thursday Ten: And School’s Back In Edition

1. The first week of school for my kiddos is almost over and so far the transition for the kids seems mostly seamless.  Not too much complaining about things – but the amount of paper in the house has quadrupled, it feels like. PAPER EVERYWHERE.

2. There are days when I drink far too much water. Those days – and today was one of those days – I spend hours alternately walking to the kitchen for more ice water, and walking to the restroom because you can’t drink all that water without really having to pee. I’m sorta known for “peecrastination” – getting so wrapped up in what I’m doing that I hold off going until I absolutely can’t stand it anymore. Not today. Why am I telling you all this about pee? I really don’t know. I’m so sorry.

3. Lately, I’ve seen Crazy Stupid Love and Friends With Benefits. Emma Stone was in both of those. She was also in The Help (Which I read and have no desire to see the movie). Why is she in everything? I’m not sure why it even matters to me, but it she’s everywhere these days.

4. The weather outside has cooled down (WHOOHOO!) but the air conditioning at work? Still cranked up. Wore a sweater today. Considered double-bagging myself and putting a sweater over my sweater. I wonder how much money places waste with hyperactive air conditioning?

5. This morning, I couldn’t muster the interest to throw together a lunch for myself, so I picked up lunch in the cafe near my office. Today’s special sounded gross, so I just got a burger. Which was also gross. So gross that I spent all afternoon queasy and kicking myself for eating it. Also, kicking myself for not realizing that I’d have been better off just grabbing Pop Tarts out of the vending machine.

6. ArtPrize in JUST UNDER TWO WEEKS!!! I’m not sure how many times I went out to see all the exhibits last year (A lot. I know that – A LOT), but I hope to get to spend as much time seeing as many of the exhibits as I can this year, also.
Street Piano, UICA

7. Yesterday, I bought Skittles at work and I threw out all the purple ones. Why? I don’t like the purple ones. When I tweeted that – several people seemed shocked – and a few people asked me to ship them the purple Skittles. Really, people? YOU LIKE THE PURPLE SKITTLES? I bet you even like the pink Starbursts, too.

8. Up until tonight, I hadn’t worked out in two days. I have no doubt that is part of the reason I have been such a gigantic cranky pants.

9. So, I guess football starts tonight?

10. And last but certainly not least. I received Mat Kearney’s YOUNG LOVE album to review, and like I said last week, at that point, I hadn’t had time to sit and really listen to it. Well, I listened on my drive to work the other day. And I listened last night while I was working. And I listened today during cardio. And in between all of those times, I have had various songs from this album stuck in my head and I have to say I mostly like this album I say mostly because there are a few songs that are total misses for me (and most albums have at least one, so it’s not like I’m hating on Mat). I like Mat Kearney’s music best when he’s mellower and the guitars are prominent and it’s almost like you’re hanging in a coffee shop listening to a guy who is too good to be playing in a coffee shop. I like Mat like that. Which is why I love the song “Rochester” (though, I’d love it more if it were about a minute shorter). Though, surprisingly, I love the hand-clappy poppiness of “Hey Mama”. But the song that keeps getting stuck in my head most of all is “Learning to Love Again.”

“Cause that was the real you running through the fields of gold wide open
Standing in places no picture contains
That was the real you, windows down, we could smell the mint fields crying
Sing with the radio to song we can’t name…”

If I rated albums with stars – and I didn’t get all scientific-y with his one – I’d give Young Love about a 7. It’s not a huge departure from the Mat Kearney you already know from “Breathe In Breathe Out” – and that’s either a good thing to you, or you wanted to see him evolve more (or you’ve thought nothing of it). It’s catchy, for sure, and the melodies will likely get stuck in your noggin… *

(I received this album for review, but the opinions are my own and solely my own…)

To My Daughters on the Night Before the First Day of School

Dear Princess & Pumpkin:

As I type this, you are winding down for the evening and I am starting to make lists of the things that need to be done tomorrow morning before the big yellow bus pulls up at the end of the driveway to swoop you girls off to your first day of school. This isn’t your first first day of school ever, but something about the start of a new school year seems like a time filled with such potential – a new start, a clean slate, fresh beginnings.

I am excited for you.

I know that there are parents who are saddened by the first day of school – sending a child off another year older than last year makes the passage of time seem more concrete somehow. Time seems, to them, to be passing too quickly.

But I don’t feel sad.

I don’t feel sad because I’m too busy being excited – because each new year is a new start with new beginnings, new friends to make, new challenges, new things to learn. There are so many opportunities in front of you – kidwise, there probably aren’t so many times filled with as much potential as the start of a new school year.

Princess, you are in fourth grade now. When I was in fourth grade, my teacher was Mrs. K – and she was absent a lot. I remember I went to school on top of a big hill and I remember the dusty walk down the hill every day (It was in California – so you’re not going to get any “I walked up hill in the snow in fourth grade” stories from me). I was in fourth grade the year the Challenger space shuttle exploded – and that is one of my vivid memories of that year. I was also in a gifted & talented class and we did projects like… trying to design packaging that we could put an egg in so that when we dropped it off a building it wouldn’t break. We also had to create a project and make a commercial for it (I remember my team created “Ubble Bubble Bubble Bath”). I remember some girls singing “Sussudio” on the playground one time. I remember jumping rope. I remember a talent show where I did a dance to Madonna’s “Dress You Up” and I got so nervous I forgot to move and it was mortifying and awful and embarrassing. I was a goofy kid, miss.

But I remember fourth grade and I remember the age, and I know that some day you’ll be thirty-something and remembering it too — so I hope you’ll enjoy this time and enjoy these moments and know that you are already WAY cooler than mommy ever was.

And Pumpkin… You are in first grade now. I wish I could say I remember a lot about first grade, but do you know what I remember most? I remember grandpa packing my lunches. He’d make a week’s worth of peanut butter on sourdough sandwiches, wrap them in aluminum foil and put them in the freezer. He’d put one in my lunch each day. At lunch time, my sandwich was never fully thawed, and I loved eating those half frozen sandwiches. I remember me and a friend laughing because we saw the name “Regina” on a movie or something in class, and we thought it rhymed with “vagina” (In our defense, I don’t think it was a very common name back then. I had never heard or seen it before). Anyway, as kids are wont to do – we thought that was hilarious. I’m sure we laughed far more than was necessary.

I repeat: Your mom was a goofy kid. You guys are already way cooler than I ever was.

I’m very proud of you guys. I don’t get sad or worry when I put you on that bus because I know you are smart, amazing and resourceful. I know that you’re going to do fabulously. I know you will each take your classroom and your school world by storm.

And it will be good.

And you will be fine.

I am so excited for you. I love you both.

I love you with my whole heart and I am so very lucky to be your mom.



Thursday Ten: Hello Fall, You’re So Close, Hurry Up Edition

1. Happy September first. Can you believe it? I know there are those people who looooove summer, but you know I’m not one of them and I’m very excited about autumn. And my birthday. And cooler weather.

2. Pumpkin is in love with the song “Who Says” by Selena Gomez. The other day, I found her standing on the toilet, looking at herself in the mirror while singing it. Consequently, that song got stuck in my head for most of the day today. That makes for a long day.

3. So, my hair that I was fretting over? No one at work even noticed. I noticed. It’s very…poofy. But no one else noticed – so either it’s fine or it always looked like crap.

4. New music I’m listening to this week – Young Love by Ma Kearney (I received this for a review and I have only listened once through – so expect to hear more about this soon) and August & Everything After – Live At Town Hall by the Counting Crows. Kinda nice to hear all those August songs reworked and live, though, I’m only on the first listen of that one as well (what can I say? I’ve been busy).

5. I was late getting out for cardio last night – so late that it was dusk and then it was dark, and then with music blaring through my headphones and darkness in front of me… I walked right through a sprinkler. Man, that sucked. Fortunately my phone and iPod seemed to survive the impromptu sprinkling (whew!).

6. Yesterday was day 365 of my photography project. Three years, and I haven’t yet missed a day. I am pleased with how it turned out and I ended the year with a shot I’ve wanted to take for awhile – train tracks. Year Four begins today.

365 | 365

7. Book club this month has chosen Liane Moriarty’s What Alice Forgot. I tell you this in case you want to pick it up and read along with me. This is actually the second book we’ve read about an Alice who doesn’t remember so well.

8. Speaking of books – I am not reading so quickly these days. It’s taking me awhile to get through things and I think, well shoot, this having a job thing is going to get in the way with my reading.

9. This is taking me so long to write because I’m watching Project Runway right now.

10. Just a few more days until school starts – and while taking the girls to meet their teachers last night, I got to introduce The Princess to my old high school cheerleading coach (who might be older but is actually aging surprisingly well. Now I wonder how old she was when she was coaching!). And I didn’t have to remind her who I was, so I admit I feel slightly less old that I’m at least somewhat recognizable as some version of my 16 year old self. Somehow.